• July 7, 2022

Whether they are residential projects, office buildings, or recovered heritage buildings, the sustainability of our built environments and the materials we create them from has risen to the top of the world’s agenda. The possible avenues to have a positive impact on the environment have only increased and widened through , from reducing embodied carbon emissions to the creation of sustainable manufacturing facilities like SOPREMA’s Woodstock plant.

Located just outside Woodstock, Ontario, the factory’s state-of-the-art facilities for manufacturing waterproofing and sealant materials shows that it’s possible to create quality industrial working environments that are sustainable and user-oriented


NET POSITIVETM strategies in the details

The factory’s sustainable design doesn’t only meet standards, but exceeds them: Embodying the NET POSITIVETM approach developed by Lemay, its positive impacts reach beyond the factory’s machinery and end products and extend outward to the health and well-being its employees and the community it serves.

“This project differs from standard industrial projects through the quality of the environment it offers, but it also transforms what an industrial building can be,” says Loïc Angot, Practice Leader, Sustainability at Lemay.

Through a combination of architecture, landscape, and engineering, SOPREMA’s plant stands as one of the few industrial projects to have obtained LEED v4 certification in Canada and around the world—let alone a LEED certification. LEED has been historically developed for workplaces, residential contexts and institutional buildings, and that’s made its criteria challenging for factories never located in a dense urban environment connected to services, public transit, and other amenities that help make manufacturing LEED compliant.

Also, factories often have often higher energy and water consumptions that need to be cut to achieve points via LEED’s system, especially when considering how the latest version of LEED increases its requirements for buildings’ energy and water savings as well as the materials it uses over a service life of 60 years. That’s part of the reason why SOPREMA’s certification represents major strides being made: Major collaborative efforts across all teams involved in the plant’s creation from design to construction managed to lower the carbon footprint in the project, with details found throughout the site and in the smallest of details.

On top of the building, white roofing which reduces solar radiation and lowers the energy needed to cool the air inside while greenery and rest areas provide an oasis for employees; inside its walls, recycled cellulose insulation has been used, part of the local and recycled materials prioritized during the construction phase which recycled 80% of its waste.

“As designer and architects, we know that a building’s energy efficiency or ability to save water can benefit the environment, but it’s also about what it can do it to benefit people,” Angot said during a panel discussion on SOPREMA’s LEED certification.

The site’s integrated landscape areas provide a drastically different appearance and feel when compared to the boxy standalone structures surrounded by asphalt found in manufacturing. By turning SOPREMA’s surrounding into appreciable greenspace, the results are not only aesthetically but environmentally beneficial, with effects ranging from heat island reduction and stormwater management to increasing the biodiversity of the land and transforming its surrounding industrial park by example.

By the numbers

In order to achieve LEED v4, SOPREMA’s 10,015 m2 site required a life cycle assessment or carbon assessment, where its carbon footprint would be measured by documenting and choosing the right materials for its proposed building plan and contrasting it against a baseline example—a process which many manufacturing facilities typically don’t see.

The life cycle assessment’s considerations can be found across the board, from how construction materials would be extracted, produced, transported and manufactured to the energy needs of the construction and the energy needed for waste removal at the end of the entire process.

This process alone decreased the embodied carbon emissions of the SOPREMA plant by 12% or roughly 505 tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent of removing 153 vehicles from Canadian roads. That made the plant’s global warming potential 12% lower and its carbon footprint 12% smaller than that of a comparable structure.

“I’m very proud that this building is working and leading by example, generating positive benefits to its community, to its users,” Angot added. “When you reach this kind of performance, it empowers people to do more, and that’s what sustainability is about; it’s not just an end point… it’s something you have to continue through its entire lifetime.”    


Learn more about Lemay’s sustainable strategy framework Net PositiveTM here for the SOPREMA Woodstock plant, and watch the full panel discussion with SOPREMA’s Director of Standards and Scientific Affairs Dr. Jean-François Côté, Pomerleau Project Director Alexandre Bernard and the SOPREMA Woodstock plant’s Director Florent Bellini here.