2024 ISPE FOYA Category Winner – Honorable Mention

United Therapeutics Corporation

Location: Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
Project: Lightyear

2024 ISPE FOYA Category Winner – Honorable Mention

Traditionally, FOYA winning facilities are focused on the manufacturing of clinical or commercial products and research lab facilities enabling discovery of medicine. However, given the very specific focus on environmental sustainability and being the first facility to be submitted as net zero facility, the FOYA judging team is making an exception to recognize United Therapeutics’ submission for their new warehouse facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.

Project Lightyear is a site net zero, carbon zero cGMP warehouse and logistics center for United Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops life-saving medicines for patients with rare diseases. The project aims to expand the company's warehousing and supply chain capabilities, while minimizing the environmental impact and ensuring the resiliency of the facility.

The facility incorporates several technological innovations that contribute to its site net zero and zero carbon goals, such as passive and active energy reduction strategies, rooftop photovoltaic array, geothermal exchange system, microgrid technology, and battery backup system (Tesla Megapacks). These systems allow the facility to use renewable energy, push excess energy back to the grid, and maintain a stable cGMP environment for the ambient and cold storage areas.

The facility houses an inhaled therapy product called Tyvaso, which is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and pulmonary hypertension with interstitial lung disease (PH-ILD). Tyvaso can improve the ability to exercise and increase the blood flow for vessels in the lungs. The facility provides critical storage for the finished product in both ambient and cold room conditions.

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The facility is designed to be resilient and independent from the electrical grid in times of power outage or emergency. The microgrid allows the facility to operate in "island mode" and use the battery backup system to support the critical loads. The battery backup system consists of two Tesla Megapacks that can provide up to 48 hours of backup power for the cold room and eight hours for the fire sprinkler system. The microgrid also helps the facility achieve zero carbon by avoiding the use of fossil fuels.

The project is expected to receive LEED Gold, LEED Zero Energy, LEED Zero Carbon, and Energy Star certifications.

For these reasons, United Therapeutics has been recognized with a honorable mention for the 2024 ISPE FOYA Program.

Supply Partners and Key Participants:

Manufacturer/Owner Name: United Therapeutics Corporation

Engineer/Architect (A&E):

  • Hanbury – Architecture, Planning, and Project Management
  • AEI – MEP/FP Engineering
  • NV5 – Civil/Structural

Commissioning Qualifications & Validation Services: Cornerstone Commissioning, Inc.

Construction Manager: Stranix Associates LLC

Main/General Contractor: DPR Construction

Piping Subcontractor: SPC Mechanical

HVAC Subcontractor: SPC Mechanical

Automation and Control Suppliers: Schneider Electric

Major Equipment Suppliers/Contractors:

  • Environmental Specialites (Formerly Bahnson)
  • PV Integrator – Green State Power