SC Johnson & Son, Inc. Building

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2009
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SC Johnson & Son, Inc. Building

*2009 Green Development Award Winner*

Fast Facts

Address: Sturtevant, Wisconsin
Company/Developer: ProLogis
Project Specs: Build-to-Suit
Project Type: Warehouse/Distribution
Square Feet: 432,000

Project History: ProLogis was selected for this project because  of its knowledge of the market and its ability to provide quality space on a quick timeframe and in a sustainable manner. During our planning discussions, we completed a cost analysis that indicated differences in price and benefits incurred with a sustainable facility compared with a standard facility. As a part of the development process, ProLogis, the city of Sturtevant and the developer of Renaissance Business Center completed infrastructure improvements largely paid through Tax Increment Financing. The work included the extension of a public road and creating off-site water retention ponds. The state-of-the-art center is less than a mile from SC Johnson’s manufacturing facility. 

Commitment to Sustainability

ProLogis is committed to being the leading global provider of sustainable distribution facilities. We are broadening our focus beyond simply “sustainable development” to encompass all three dimensions of sustainability: environmental stewardship, social responsibility and business excellence. These dimensions give our sustainability initiative a “triple bottom line”: benefit to the planet, to people and to the profitability that makes our existence possible. In February 2007, ProLogis became the first real estate company in the world to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, the first voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon credit trading program. As an associate member, the company committed to measuring and offsetting its operational “carbon footprint” through at least 2010. 

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • As a result of installing energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems and other sustainable features, the facility is expected to achieve 38 percent greater energy efficiency than industry standards.
  • The facility will better withstand natural elements that can wear on a more conventional building over time. For example, by using highly reflective roofing materials, UV rays will not produce as much wear on the roof, giving it longer life and maintaining the energy efficiency of the building for a longer period of time.
  • Because this was a build-to-suit development, we immediately began collecting monthly rents upon completion of the facility. The agreement with SC Johnson is a long-term lease.
  • Most green-related costs are investments made up front that pay long-term dividends. For example, the energy efficient lighting system used in this facility cost an additional 10 to 15 percent at initial purchase, but has potential to produce a 70 percent lighting energy savings per year. 
SC Johnson & Son, Inc. Building side view

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • This project has designated 282,750 square feet of open space, which is 406 percent more than the minimum code requirements.
  • An Erosion and Sedimentation Control plan for all construction activities was executed. The plan outlined measures implemented to prevent loss of soil by storm runoff and/or wind erosion; prevent sedimentation of storm sewer or receiving streams; and prevent polluting the air with dust and other particles.
  • As part of the land procurement and entitlement process, ProLogis completed an Environmental Impact Assessment. During the assessment process, we identified there are no threatened or impacted species/habitats near the development site.
  • During construction, more than 85 percent of construction debris was diverted from landfills and recycled for future use. We utilized 42 percent recycled content for the completed structure and more than 46 percent of construction materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the site. These levels are exceptionally high and we were recognized for our efforts during the LEED certification process.
  • The building was designed to accommodate future tenant-related recycling programs by designating space for recycling containers within the facility. ProLogis strongly believes that creating a defined area for onsite recycling encourages building occupants to integrate green practices into their waste management programs.
  • We used products that emit low (or no) levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Our design team worked diligently to specify compliant products for adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets.
  • The building includes bicycle storage facilities to serve five percent of all users, measured at peak occupancy, and shower facilities for use by all building occupants – these features offer employees the option to bike to work. In addition, preferred carpool and high-efficiency vehicle parking spaces are offered.
  • Belle Urban System provides public transportation directly to the distribution park in which the building resides.
  • The exterior of the facility is not typical of average warehouses. The exterior walls contain 22-foot-high, floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the front entrance. Not only do the windows improve aesthetics, but they allow ample natural light into the facility – reducing energy consumption and enhancing worker productivity. 
interior view of SC Johnson & Son, Inc. Building

Energy Efficiency

  • The 60 clerestory windows, 42 vision panels in the dock doors and 22-foot glass storefronts allows natural light as a source of interior illumination. Natural light shines in the majority of the workspace.
  • The energy-efficient lighting system, comprised of T5 fluorescent light fixtures, reduces energy consumption by up to 70 percent.  Individually controlled motion sensors detect movement and turn lights off if an area is not in use for a designated time period. Photocells adjust the amount of light needed according to how much natural light is entering the building. The company saves an estimated 469,070 kWh in energy use per year, approximately $39,000 in annual cost savings, (when assuming utility fees are $.083 per kWh).
  • In addition to a direct-fired gas system, the building has a cross-docked flow through design. Simultaneously opening doors on both sides of the building increases the flow of fresh air without use of additional energy resources.
  • The building does not contain any CFC-base refrigerants in its HVAC equipment. 

Water Efficiency

  • All bathroom fixtures were chosen for their water-saving features and are estimated to save more than 44 percent above the EPAct (Energy Policy Act) baseline. This is an exemplary amount, and we were recognized for our extra effort during the LEED certification process. Over the course of a year these products are estimated to save 173,000 gallons.
  • We used water efficient plants in our landscape design to minimize water consumption. The landscaped area is very minimal and much of the landscaping includes natural plants with no need of any irrigation. Little water is needed to maintain the landscaping, approximately 44 percent less than standard sites. Plus, all water used for onsite landscaping is non-potable.
  • A stormwater management plan was designed to handle excess runoff water, and channel the water to appropriate outlets such as a retention pond. The plan resulted in a 25 percent decrease in the volume of stormwater runoff.


  • The building includes a geothermal HVAC system for the office area. This is rare in sustainable buildings and has proven to be very effective in saving energy costs and improving internal air quality. Geothermal systems rely on the earth’s stable temperature for their energy efficiency. High density polyethylene supply/return tubes run within a number of vertical deep wells and loop horizontally 10 feet under ground. Water in the tubes circulates in the ground and then delivers the fluid needed to heat and cool the building in to the HVAC system. During cold months, heat is transferred from the ground via the tubes to individual heat pumps. During warm months, heat is transferred out of the building and absorbed into the ground.
  • In creating the design, the architect used a building information modeling process to calculate efficiency values of the building. With this software, we were able to plan the best design possible, achieving optimum performance values while maintaining cost effectiveness.