Norfolk Southern Joins U.S. Green Building Council

Norfolk Southern (NS) has joined the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the railroad announced last week.

"By becoming a member company of the U.S. Green Building Council, Norfolk Southern is demonstrating its commitment to our shared goal of a more sustainably-built environment," said Chris Smith, USGBC's chief operating officer.

As part of its Crescent Corridor program, NS has committed to submitting buildings from three of its proposed intermodal terminals in Birmingham, Ala., Greencastle, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn., for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.

The LEED certification system aims to recognize buildings that use less energy, water, and natural resources while improving the indoor environment, with the goal of maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts. The process for obtaining LEED certification is based on accumulating points in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. NS has been incorporating LEED standards into its building and planning designs.

"Norfolk Southern's goal is to lead the industry in emissions reduction, efficient energy use, and environmentally focused public-private partnerships," said NS CEO Wick Moorman.

The railroad is also looking to implement sustainable operations, by, for example, using low-emission cranes and tractors. It is experimenting with methods to reduce truck idling and seeking to cut electricity usage at its facilities as well.