Monday, June 20, 2022

The LEGO Group to Build US$1 Billion, Carbon-Neutral Run Factory in Virginia, USA


I love Legos.  I pretty much always have.  I think if you have a geeky/nerdy bone in your body, there is something about the company and their products that appeals to that.  I especially love how over the past 20 years or so they have expanded to include entire "genres" or concepts like City, Space, and Super Heroes.  

When I was a little boy, I loved... and I mean *loved* putting together models.  Back then, Lego hadn't evolved to that point yet.  So instead I assembled kits from the Revel company.  Those days were probably some of the ones that helped me with my mechanical reasoning that I use every day for complicated restorative dental cases.  Nowadays you don't see as much of putting models together with "model glue".  Now that arena has been pretty much taken over by Lego.

So I was thrilled to read last week that Lego has announced plans to build a new factory in Virginia. The truly impressive part is their focus on sustainability and being green.  Read on for all the details...

 Here is the info from the company press release:

The LEGO Group today announced plans to invest more than US$1 billion to build a new factory in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Once completed, the 1.7 million square foot (160,000m2 ) facility will employ more than 1,760 people.

The factory will be designed to operate as a carbon-neutral facility. 100 percent of its day-to-day energy needs will be matched by renewable energy generated by an onsite solar park. The site will also be designed to minimise energy consumption and use of non-renewable resources.

Niels B. Christiansen, CEO, the LEGO Group said: “This is an exciting step for the LEGO Group. More and more families are falling in love with LEGO® building and we are looking forward to making LEGO bricks in the US, one of our largest markets. The location in Virginia allows us to build a solar park which supports our sustainability ambitions and provides easy links to country-wide transportation networks. We are also looking forward to creating fantastic employment opportunities for the people of Virginia.”

Construction will commence in fall 2022 with production projected to start in the second half of 2025. A temporary packaging site will open in an existing building nearby in early 2024 and create up to 500 jobs.

The Virginia factory will be the LEGO Group’s seventh factory globally and the second in the Americas. The company’s manufacturing site in Monterrey, Mexico primarily supplies the US market and will be expanded and upgraded to meet growing demand for LEGO products.

Carsten Rasmussen, Chief Operations Officer, the LEGO Group said: “Our factories are located close to our biggest markets which shortens the distance our products have to travel. This allows us to rapidly respond to changing consumer demand and helps manage our carbon footprint. Our new factory in the US and expanded capacity at our existing site in Mexico means we will be able to best support long-term growth in the Americas. We are fortunate to find a location where we can begin construction quickly and create temporary capacity in under two years.”

The new factory in Virginia, like all LEGO facilities, will use state-of-the-art technology to mould, process and pack LEGO products and ensure they meet the company’s rigorous safety and quality requirements.

“Our bricks are made to last for generations, so we need skilled employees trained to work with precision moulding technology. We look forward to working with the Virginia Talent Accelerator programme to help build a great team who are motivated by our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,” said Mr Rasmussen.

LEGO factories in Europe and China are also being expanded, and in December 2021, the Group announced plans to build a factory in Vietnam to support further growth in Asia.

The LEGO Group currently employs approximately 2,600 people in the US where it has been operating since the 1960s. Its US head office is in Enfield, CT, and operates 100 LEGO branded stores across the country. 


• Investment: US$1 billion over 10 years

• Jobs: 1,760 positions created over 10 years

• Land: 340 acres/137 ha

• Buildings: 1.7 million sq ft / 160.000 m² which will house moulding, processing, and packing and a high bay warehouse.


2022 Groundbreaking

2024 Packing in temporary building begins

2025, H2 Production commences, solar park completed

Sustainability ambitions:

The Virginia facility will be designed to operate as a carbon neutral factory which means it will be a highly energy efficient site and 100 percent of its energy needs will be matched by onsite renewable sources. It will strive to:

Reduce energy usage: The factory buildings and manufacturing processes will be designed to minimise energy use. The aim is to secure Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for the building once it’s completed.

Increase renewable energy supply: An onsite solar park will be constructed which will match all the factory’s energy needs.

• Precision manufacturing:

Each LEGO brick is moulded to the accuracy of a hair’s width (5my/0.005mm) to ensure the perfect ‘clutch power’ that holds LEGO creations together. 

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