The latest achievement for the North American headquarters building of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix) comes from close to home: The Cleveland 2030 District has named the facility the overall winner of its Green Building Challenge. The Cleveland 2030 District partners with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Ohio’s Northeast Local Leadership Team to host the annual challenge, created to recognize commendable new construction and renovation projects in Northeast Ohio.

Applicants submit their project for one or more of the following categories: energy conservation/management, water conservation/management, transportation emissions reduction, and healthy buildings. Submissions in multiple categories are considered for the award of overall winner. Other organizations recognizing the winners include the Cleveland chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Bendix’s headquarters, which opened in November 2021, is a light-filled gem of a structure set on a leafy-green, 58-acre campus in Avon, Ohio, just west of Cleveland. It consists of a main building totaling more than 200,000 square feet and a free-standing, multi-bay commercial vehicle garage.

The construction of the headquarters campus was an opportunity to be a signature part of Bendix’s larger strategic environmental efforts. Bendix’s sustainability journey has been at the forefront of the robust global efforts underway at its parent company, Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse. Knorr-Bremse is the global market leader for braking systems and a leading supplier of other safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle systems.

Both organizations have focused on aligning environmental, social, and governance (ESG) actions with the United Nations’ (U.N.’s) ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 overarching sustainability objectives provide a blueprint for prosperity for people, the planet, and both local and global economies. Over the past decade, Bendix sustainability programs have concentrated on minimizing environmental impact through waste reduction and diversion, as well as energy efficiency and emission reduction projects. These elements were also key drivers in the Avon headquarters construction project.

“We’re honored to achieve the Green Building Challenge distinction for our Avon headquarters,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix senior director, environmental, social, and governance (ESG). “This building is a transformative facility that works better for the environment, and just as important, for the Bendix team members who walk through its doors every day. It reflects Bendix’s long-standing sustainability strategy, supporting our goal to be a partner with our planet.”

Bendix integrated key LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) concepts throughout the design and planning process. In 2022, the facility earned LEED Silver v4 certification. “As a good environmental steward and a good neighbor, we were intent on succeeding across the complex array of LEED requirements,” said Jim Wischmeier, Bendix facilities and maintenance manager. “Our headquarters is the culmination of an enormous amount of intentional thought and effort that started from day one of the pre-planning and conception and continued through every step of design and construction. The LEED framework will also help ensure the building maintains its performance into the future as well.”

Bendix gave special attention to energy efficiency, integrating a comprehensive energy strategy in the design and operations of the facility. Throughout the process, the team used energy modeling as a design-assist tool – taking into account such factors as site conditions, massing, building envelope, lighting, thermal comfort, and programming.

High-efficiency lighting, windows, insulation, and HVAC equipment help reduce overall energy consumption in the building by over 18% compared to similar buildings. Overall, 100% of the building’s energy use is offset by renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets.

Bendix counted enhancing indoor air quality as another priority in the new building to promote employee comfort, well-being, and productivity. Strategies included efficient filtration, carbon dioxide sensors in all densely populated areas, and volatile organic compound (VOC) monitoring on each floor.

The Bendix project team also prioritized recycling – within the design of the building, on the construction site, and for building occupants. Building materials included 11% recycled content. The company reclaimed wood from trees felled on the site and transformed it into tables and other fixtures used in the building and elsewhere.

A comprehensive waste segregation and minimization program sends zero waste to landfills and includes a compost program. In 2023, Bendix composted 13,800 pounds of organic material; since moving into the building, the company has composted 32,600 pounds, avoiding an estimated 9.78 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Since the building opened, 20 drinking water stations have helped avoid the use of over 293,000 single-use plastic water bottles. Waste minimization began during construction, when 80% of all construction waste – 500 tons – was diverted from landfill. In addition, Bendix helped reduce water consumption by installing high-efficiency toilets, urinals, and faucets.

Bendix promotes alternatives to conventionally fueled vehicles as part of its sustainability program in the building. Today, the parking lot includes 28 parking spaces designated for electric vehicles, and eight on-site Level 2 charging stations are available. Dramatic increases in employee adoption of electric vehicles prompted Bendix to invest in an additional two charging stations in 2023.

Employee amenities include a 3,400-square-foot on-site fitness center. The furthest any employee is from natural light within the building is 25 feet. The campus’ large, landscaped site – 70% of which is park-like open space – is designed to encourage employee and visitor interaction with the environment, social contact with each other, and physical activity. It includes a community garden, a variety of plantings and vegetation, and walking paths, as well as bicycle paths and covered bike rack parking.

“The headquarters building is not only beautiful to look at and a wonderful, inviting place to work,” Gutierrez said. “It’s also a major step in our continued progress toward Bendix’s key sustainability milestones and our overarching climate action goals.”

For more information, visit