Denmark-based water pump manufacturer Grundfos broke ground April 16 on the site of its new North American headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill., a Chicago suburb. Grundfos North America is currently headquartered in Olathe, Kan. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully joined Grundfos executives Søren Sørensen and Jes Munk Hansen in ceremoniously initiating construction on the office by knocking down a wall in the existing space.

“North America is one of our most important growth markets and is the world’s single largest market for pumps with a total market of $6.5 billion,” said Sørensen, Grundfos Group executive vice president and chairman of the Grundfos North American board. “To grow our share of this market, we will continue to invest in product development, local production and our workforce. We will grow our sales to $1 billion by 2017, and as a consequence of our growth, we anticipate adding a significant number of jobs in the United States.”

A global developer of high-tech water pumps and systems, the $4 billion company chose the Chicago area because of its proximity to the resurging manufacturing sector surrounding the Great Lakes and its open political climate promoting advancements in water infrastructure and sustainability.

“The Chicago area is emerging as an important hub for the water industry and is one of the reasons why we’re establishing our North American headquarters here,” said Hansen, president of Grundfos North America. “Governor Quinn and the state of Illinois have shown commitment to water issues … and we anticipate playing a major role in the further development of critical water initiatives in the state and around the country.”

Governor Quinn — who recently launched the $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative to overhaul the state’s aging water infrastructure — welcomed Grundfos to Illinois.

“I am pleased that Grundfos has chosen Illinois as the location for [its] North American headquarters,” Quinn said. “Illinois continues to be one of the best places to do business in the world ... [This] announcement will grow our economy and strengthen our water infrastructure while creating jobs.”

The company noted that local aspects also attracted its focus on the area such as world-class airports with access to local, regional and global flights, and its strong talent pool for hiring in leadership, staff and support functions.

“Our community continues to be one of the premier locations for corporate headquarters and large office development projects,” said Downers Grove Mayor Tully. “Grundfos is a world-class company and we are proud to have them in Downers Grove.”


Pursuing LEED Silver status

Sustainability is a major priority for Grundfos. In addition to manufacturing energy- and water-efficient pumping solutions, the company is committed to reducing its own impact on the environment. For its new 10,871-sq.-ft. headquarters, Grundfos North America is pursuing LEED Silver for Commercial Interiors and will meet the following criteria:

Water Efficiency: The office will take advantage of low-flow fixtures to reduce water consumption by at least 20% in the café area.

Energy and Atmosphere: Up to 84% of office appliances will be Energy Star-approved and none of the heating, ventilation or air-conditioning equipment will use chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants. The office also will optimize energy performance by reducing power lighting density by up to 35% below industry standards and by utilizing occupancy sensors in at least 75% of lighting to prevent empty rooms from wasting energy.

Materials and Resources: The headquarters will feature an area dedicated to the collection and storage of recyclable materials and up to 75% of construction waste will be diverted to recycling facilities rather than landfills. Furthermore, the office’s furniture, carpet, ceiling tiles and other materials will feature at least 20% recycled content.

Indoor Environmental Quality: Smoking is not allowed in the building or within 25 feet of doors, windows or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning intakes. In fact, the office will exceed industry ventilation requirements by a minimum of 30%. Adhesives, sealants, paint, coatings and flooring systems will use materials with low volatile organic compounds, which are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids that may have adverse health effects. The design takes advantage of daylight and views while maintaining comfortable temperatures.

Sustainable Site: With more than 10 basic services located within half a mile of the headquarters, employees can access what they need without getting in a car. In addition, two bus stops are within a quarter mile of the office, making public transportation a convenient option.