William McDonough + Partners Design Method’s First U.S. Manufacturing Facility

Plant Models a Clean Industrial Revolution in Chicago’s South Side

Chicago, IL – March 4, 2014 –Environmentally conscious cleaning products company Method is presenting the details of its new state-of-the-art production facility in Chicago’s historic Pullman community. The design, from William McDonough’s design firm, William McDonough + Partners, is unveiled today at an event in Chicago with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The development marks the company’s first U.S.-based production facility and will showcase the company’s dedication to sustainability as it builds the first LEED Platinum manufacturing facility in its industry. This site was the original lumberyard for the Pullman operation; Method’s investment in cleaning up this historic (brownfield) site, as well as its design, express Method’s clean mission at every scale.

Architect and sustainability leader William McDonough explains the context for the project, and why the project is important. “So often, in the first industrial revolution, factories were dirty,” he says. “We have these images of factories as gritty buildings with smokestacks—facilities that no families would want in or near their neighborhoods. Method is dedicated to clean in as many ways as possible. This factory is a clean factory. The energy will be clean. The production will be clean. The products are designed to meet the standards of the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Program, which means that they are as clean as Method can make them. The products themselves help consumers have beautiful, clean homes.

Method’s new manufacturing home is a clean home—using clean energy, water and materials to create innovative household products.  The manifestation of ‘industrial hygiene’ at this scale is beneficial to communities; it provides jobs and it is embodied by a facility that is a delightful neighbor—your kids can play safely here. Entrepreneurial companies like Method are modeling a new, clean industrial model for our country. It’s a genuine pleasure to work with them.”

McDonough expresses appreciation to the large team that has collaborated to realize the project. “William McDonough + Partners is grateful to Method, Summit Design Build, Heitman Architects, and the many Chicago-based landscape and engineering team members, as well as MBDC, who have been a part of making this project a reality.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supports the location choice and the factory aims. “The City of Chicago continues to attract companies looking to access our highly skilled workforce, transportation system and diverse business climate,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Method choosing to build their state-of the-art manufacturing facility in Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood is a major economic investment for the south side of the City. Method has made a significant commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability and I am proud they will open their doors in Chicago.”

Method aims to eventually run this factory entirely on renewable power. Solar photovoltaic tree-like structures will generate energy and provide shade for cars parked underneath while solar thermal panels will provide hot water for factory processes. The team is focusing on utilizing materials that are safe for human and ecological health using the Cradle to Cradle Certified protocol. These sustainable design innovations, co-founded by William McDonough,are intended to enable the building to help restore, heal, and support the surrounding habitat while also stimulating the neighborhood’s economy by bringing in an estimated 100 manufacturing jobs. The building’s integration with the surrounding environment extends well into the community, with its emphasis on pedestrian connectivity and proximity to mass transit options.

The building features a transparent south wall to provide an abundance of daylight and visual exposure to the outdoors and serve as a metaphor for Method’s corporate transparency initiatives. This transparency also highlights Method’s dedication to the local community, providing a window into the factory’s daily operations. Due in part to the unique architectural facets that make the facility so sustainable, Method plans to provide public tours to showcase its manufacturing processes within an environmentally responsible context. The company has recently received certification through the Cradle to CradleCM Certified Program (at the Gold Level) for 75% of its product line from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Partnering with William McDonough on the design of this factory was a natural choice that reinforces the corporate agenda of sustainable economic growth.

“The opportunity to build our first manufacturing plant in Chicago marks a milestone in Method’s journey of aligning our interests as a business with the interests of society and the environment,” said Adam Lowry, co-founder and chief greenskeeper of Method. “The Pullman neighborhood of Chicago not only has a rich industrial heritage that serves as a fitting backdrop to an inspiring new model for urban renewal and sustainable manufacturing, there is a strong spirit and work ethic among this community.”

ABOUT William McDonough

William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. Trained as an architect, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”  William McDonough is the co-founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), founder of William McDonough + Partners and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. McDonough co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things in 2002 with German chemist Dr. Michael Braungart; the book is widely acknowledged as a seminal text in the sustainable design movement. The Cradle to Cradle methodology for safe, healthy building products has been incorporated into LEED v4, the latest version of the US Green Building Council’s rating system. For more written works by William McDonough, visit his Amazon page.

ABOUT the team

  • William McDonough + Partners, design architect
  • Summit Design + Build, LLC, contractor
  • Heitman Architects Incorporated
  • KJWW, structural and MEP engineers
  • Spaceco, Inc., civil engineers
  • Norris Design, landscape architects
  • Buro Happold, renewable energy consultant
  • Sieben Energy Associates, commissioning consultant
  • MBDC, healthy material assessments
  • Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, certified product material coordination

ABOUT Method

Founded in 2000, Method is the pioneer of premium planet-friendly and design-driven home, fabric and personal care products. Formulated with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients, Method cleaners put the hurt on dirt without doing harm to people, creatures or the planet. Today, Method can be found in more than 40,000 retail locations throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Major national retailers include Target, Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and Kroger. Method is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information, visit methodhome.com.