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Bridgestone's Aiken County plant earns certifications

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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (Feb. 12, 2010) — Bridgestone Americas' tire plant in Aiken County recently earned its LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as an educational wildlife habitat designation.

Bridgestone said the plant is its second facility to earn LEED certification, which recognizes outstanding environmental building design and utilization. It joins the tire maker's Warren County, Tenn., truck and bus tire plant, which earned the distinction in November 2008.

The plant has adopted 37 new waterless urinals and sensor faucets, which Bridgestone said will cut annual water consumption by 1.48 million gallons. The facility also has begun using energy efficient light bulbs.

“We really worked hard to find ways to be more environmentally sustainable in our policies and practices,” said Jimmy Vaughn, Aiken County environmental engineer, Bridgestone. “The new, more environmentally friendly ways we conduct ourselves at the plant will have a positive impact on our environment and save money by reducing waste and consumption.”

In addition, Bridgestone's 560-acre wildlife habitat located at the plant has been certified under the Wildlife Habitat Council's Corporate Lands for Learning and Wildlife at Work programs.

The habitat, which has more than 400 acres of mixed-pine forest that include a network of nature trails, also features indoor and outdoor environmental classrooms used to help educate members of the local community about wildlife habitat conservation and other environmental topics. The plant features a wildlife team consisting of 75 members who utilize the facilities to host several programs during the year.

With the help of a local Girl Scouts troop and the organization Birds & Butterflies of Aiken, the facility recently installed 17 bluebird boxes. Future plans call for the expansion of these nest boxes to include purple martins and bats, while the environmental team also hopes to work with local Boy and Girl Scout troops to add picnic tables, native plants and pollinator gardens.