Biotechnology company United Therapeutics has unveiled its new net-zero energy distribution center located on its co-headquarters campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
The facility, known as "Phase Five," is the company’s second net-zero building on the campus and the fifth overall in its sustainable portfolio. According to the firm, the center spans 55,000 square feet and includes a warehouse designed to meet current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) for pharmaceutical products.
“As far as we are aware, this is the first cGMP warehouse designed to meet site net zero energy standards. Achieving this goal required extensive collaboration with the city and county of Durham and with our local electric utility, Duke Energy,” said Martine Rothblatt, Chairperson and CEO of United Therapeutics. “We are extremely grateful to all our employees and collaborators who worked tirelessly to design and construct this facility, which is one of the keys to supporting our near-term revenue growth expectations.”
United Therapeutics will use the facility to store and distribute its latest drug-device combination product, Tyvaso DPI, which was launched in 2022.
The net zero energy distribution center features a geothermal system consisting of 40 vertical bores, each 500 feet deep. This system effectively regulates the building’s systems and maintains optimal environmental conditions by harnessing core earth temperatures, the company says.
The center also includes a microgrid with battery backup using Tesla Megapacks that provide 6.2 MWh of battery capacity to sustain the building for over two days without utility power, eliminating the need for fossil fuels.
Additionally, the facility features a roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system, comprising 1,200 panels with a peak output of 560 kW and an estimated annual production of 767 MWh. The PV system is interconnected with the microgrid and can recharge the Tesla Megapacks during periods of disconnection from the utility, enabling the facility to operate for extended durations without the need for a standby generator.
The new center also implements smart building technology, including lighting occupancy sensors strategically placed throughout the facility, ENERGY STAR-certified office equipment, and regenerative charging lift trucks.
United Therapeutics also commissioned work on a net zero building known as the "Unisphere" which opened five years ago in Silver Springs, Maryland. (image above).