Brother International Corporation
7777 N Brother Blvd
Bartlett, TN 38133
Brother International Corporation's (BIC’s) North American Distribution Center in Bartlett, Tennessee is composed of more than 1.6 million square feet of space and distributes a multitude of industrial products, home appliances, and business products that are manufactured by its parent company, Brother Industries Ltd. (BIL) of Nagoya, Japan. The facility also houses Brother Industries USA, Incorporated, which is one of BIL’s 16 worldwide manufacturing facilities. Additional tenants include customer service call centers, the Research & Development/Product Management Department, the Industrial Products Division, and an internet development group. The building was constructed in 1998 and contained 1 million square feet of space. An additional 500,000 square feet of space was added in 2004 due to the organization's growth. The building is owned by the Industrial Development Board of the City of Bartlett and is independently operated by Brother International Corporation. Since the building’s inception, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship have been key factors in facility operations. The facility is certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for meeting the requirements of ISO 90001 and ISO 140001.
When BIC was established in the United States in the 1950s, it was headquartered in the Northeast. In 1986, the manufacturing and distribution operations moved to Bartlett, Tennessee. During the next decade, sales volume grew and plans were drawn to build the North American Distribution Center. From the very beginning, BIC had specific goals for the new building: it had to be energy-efficient, be environmentally sensitive, and provide opportunities to reduce operational expenses. BIC selected local firms to design and build a facility that would meet these goals. Allen & Hoshall completed the architectural work, and Linkous Construction built the facility. At that time, it was commonplace to utilize tilt-up concrete panels to build warehouses. However, few facilities had thermal blankets on the interior walls to reduce heat loss during the winter and retain cool air during hot summer months. Considerable thought also went into HVAC systems that could efficiently meet the facility’s cooling needs while reducing overall electricity consumption. The closed-loop chiller system chosen to cool the facility is estimated to have saved more than $650,000 annually compared to standard roof-top air conditioning units used in similar warehouses. Applied lighting technology also minimized energy waste due to facility illumination. Since its first day of operation, the facility’s lighting has been controlled by a computer system produced by Trane Tracer. The system turns on all lights a half-hour prior to the start of operations each day and turns them back off approximately one half-hour after normal operations have ended. Manual controls may be used to override the system and turn lights on when necessary.
Facility management has kept abreast of new developments with the potential to further improve operational efficiency. In 2006, when old lighting began to fail, more than 3,000 existing incandescent fixtures were replaced with T-8 fixtures. It was estimated that the new lighting installations improved lighting-related efficiency by 30–40 percent. A considerable improvement in energy efficiency was similarly achieved in 2009 when management fitted 28 roof-mounted air handling units with variable frequency drives.
In 2009, straight-line winds did considerable damage to the roof, which was constructed from EPDM, the best roofing material available when the building was constructed in 1998. Unfortunately, the black rubber membrane could easily heat up to more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit during hot summer days. In the process of soliciting bids for the repair operation, management learned that a newly available roofing material, TPO roof membrane, could meet the facility’s needs. This new material chosen to roof the facility is as durable as the EPDM membrane, but reduces energy use by reflecting as much as 83 percent of the sun's rays, because it is white in color. The new roof is approximately 30–50 degrees cooler than an EPDM roof; it keeps the facility cooler and minimizes the need for high-power air conditioning to keep the building interior comfortable.
Facility management also took other steps to achieve significant improvements in energy efficiency. When the building was initially constructed, engineers indicated that two chillers would be required to cool the building. With the addition of 500,000 square feet of space in 2004, an additional chiller was installed. The energy consumed by running all three chillers during the cooling season was more than 4,600,000 kilowatt hours. Facility management determined that raising the set points would reduce the need to concurrently run all chillers. In 2009, energy efficiency was improved by 10 percent when only two chillers were used. In 2010, the set point was raised an additional four degrees. These actions resulted in an improvement in energy efficiency of more than 9 percent.
In 2011, management’s facilities group looked at the feasibility of generating power on site. In light of the available incentives, management determined that the project was more than viable. Working with The Tennessee Solar Institute and Tennessee Valley Authority, the facility’s management constructed two solar farms on the property. The farms are rated at 60 kilowatts each and were completed in December 2011. Since then, the facility has been feeding the local electrical grid.
Facilities Director Steve Tuttle stated, “Brother USA is strongly dedicated to making resource efficiency a reality that pays huge dividends. Our partners at the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce and Team Green Zone have been by our side every step of the way through the ENERGY STAR certification process.”
“Earning ENERGY STAR certification is just the icing on the cake. Brother USA is involved in all areas of resource efficiency. Their commitment to lowering their waste stream and eliminating unnecessary costs is a testament to what all businesses should strive for. This shows all businesses can practice energy efficiency.” -- Mark Norris, Senate Majority Leader, TN Senate
Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by Industrial DEV BRD of the City of Bartlett TN or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.
Team Green Zone
Industrial DEV BRD of the City of Bartlett TN
Brother International Corporation
Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
Facility Type: Warehouse (Unrefrigerated)
Total Floorspace: 1646609 sf
Year Constructed: 1998
Contract Type: None
Financing Type: Internal Capital
|Stage 3-Load Reductions|
|Stage 4-Fan Systems|
|Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant|
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Bartlett, TN 38134