The Sustainable Madness Behind Method Manufacturing’s New Facility

by TODD STOLARSKI | Dec. 1, 2015

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It reads like the start of a joke you’ve heard before. An urban farmer, a general contractor, an architect, and a sustainability consultant all walk into a soap factory. But this is no joke. In the historic Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, Method’s wild new soap plant is making more history, becoming the first manufacturing plant in its industry to earn LEED Platinum Certification.

Method achieved this distinction for the new building’s several sustainable features, including a 600-kw, 230-ft-tall wind turbine, rotating solar trees that track the sun, and what will soon be expanded to be one of the world’s largest rooftop farms.

NYC-based urban agricultural pioneer Gotham Greens announced last month that the hydroponic farm on Method’s rooftop will grow to 75,000 sq ft and produce 10 million crops yearly, all while powered by 100% renewable energy.  

Eventbrite - Project Innovation Series: Heitman Architects - Method Manufacturing

On the heels of that announcement, Gotham Greens’ chief agriculture officer, Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, will join our lineup of speakers, all of whom were invaluable in the orchestration of Method’s instant icon. On our stage this Thursday Dec. 3, meet the team responsible for turning an EPA brownfield site into a vision of a sustainability and renewal that other smart cities may copy.

Covering all angles of the project will be:

Design Architect – Karl Heitman, Heitman Architects;
Sustainability Consultants – Arun Garg and Scott Wiercinski, KJWW Engineering Consultants;
Urban Agriculture Specialists – Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, Gotham Greens;
General Contractor – Adam Miller, Summit Design + Build.

Together on our stage, for one night only, these four companies will reveal how, through collaboration, they have paved a clean, new path for others in LEED manufacturing.


  • Who is Method?
  • Brownfield Development and Sustainable Site Design
  • BIM Building Design
  • The MEP Challenges
  • Issues in the Construction Process
  • LEED Challenges and Success

As a partial preview of Thursday evening’s presentations, here again is Karl Heitman’s presentation from our Cloud Coverage event in July.

To contact the author, write to, or follow him on Twitter @toddstolarski.