Robotic Milking Facility


The Robotic Milking Facility is the first livestock building in the U.S. to receive Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification; receiving Silver Level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in spring 2010. The LEED certification process encourages practices that promote energy conservation, water use efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, and natural resource stewardship in six general categories during and after construction. These categories include sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovations and design.  Achieving LEED certification for the Pasture Dairy Barn allows KBS to demonstrate its own commitment to sustainability and ways that farmers can conserve natural resources and reduce costs. Several practices during its design and construction helped the Robotic Milking Facility receive LEED certification; these practices included:

  1. Energy Conservation - All LEED certified buildings must be at least 15% more energy efficient than building codes dictates.  The dairy barn exceeded this requirement by including practices that enable the facility to be 38% more energy efficient than industry standards of 2009.
  2. Construction Waste Recycling - Over 11 tons of concrete, wood, and metal were recycled or redirected to prevent them from going into a landfill.  Additionally,  concrete waste was used as the base for the parking area and driveway to the barn. recilicling contaners
  3. Long-term Recycling - A recycling plan is required for all LEED certified buildings to reduce the amount of paper, plastic, and other wastes going to landfills.
  4. Use of Regional Materials - Over 34% of construction materials were recovered, harvested, or manufactured within 500 miles of Hickory Corners Michigan.
  5. Protecting the Ozone Layer - The use of refrigerant management systems that do not use Ozone depleting Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) are required for all LEED certified buildings.
  6. Internal Air Quality- Paints, sealants, and adhesives used during construction were selected from a LEED approved list of compounds producing a low level of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
  7. A Green Housekeeping Policy was developed at the dairy to reduce the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical contaminants.
  8. Working with LEED Accredited Professionals - To ensure that LEED appropriate design and construction principles were included in the dairy barn the design team (farm staff, other MSU and KBS staff, and building designer) worked closely with LEED Accredited Professionals throughout all phases of the design and construction process.

''Logo for LEED Design and construction practices to achieve LEED certification for the KBS Pasture Dairy Barn were not without additional costs.  LEED certification   is typically reported to increase project costs by 2.5 to 11% (or more), depending on the size of the project, certification level, and types of practices  included. Achievement of LEED certification for the KBS pasture dairy barn increased project costs by approximately 4.5%, but the hope is that the energy efficient design and green building principals at the dairy barn will return that money to the dairy over time through lower operating costs.


2009 Grand opening and ribbon Cutting for pasture-based dairy center at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Research Station at Hickory Corners, Michigan.

Barn Features

''Double chamber waterbed mattresses



       ''surveillance cameras''surveillance camera view









The Robotic Milking Process

The automatic milking system collects detailed data of cows body weight, milk yield, milking time, preparation time, rumination time, activity, heat probability, milk color and milk conductivity.