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Roof workers installing solar panels

Sustainable Development

Operational Carbon

All new Prologis warehouses are designed and constructed to minimise operational carbon emissions. Buildings with reduced operational carbon emissions require less energy to operate and help customers to save running costs.

The facility that we built for the Co-operative Group at Prologis M8 shows the level of savings that can be achieved.

Step 1

To reduce operational carbon emissions, the first step is to implement passive design measures to reduce the need for energy. These include high levels of air-tightness and insulation to reduce potential heat loss. Our cladding specification and detailing provides insulation that is well in excess of Building Regulations, while pressure tests show that we can achieve air-tightness levels up to 80% better than the statutory requirement.

Rooflights on 15% of the warehouse roof area maximise the use of daylight, while optimal orientation takes into account the path of the sun and the prevailing winds. Where possible, offices are designed on a narrow floorplate with dual aspect glazing to take advantage of natural daylight and allow for effective passive ventilation. We also provide solar shading to ensure thermal comfort and avoid solar gain.

Step 2

When energy use becomes essential, we specify and install the most energy efficient plant available, such as intelligent lighting with low-energy fluorescent fittings, daylight linking and presence-detecting controls. High-efficiency, low-NOX boilers with thermostatically controlled radiators heat the offices and different parts of the building are sub-metered to help customers track and manage their energy consumption.

Step 3

Once the operational energy use in the building has been minimised, we can design and install low- or zero-carbon technologies to meet the customer’s specific operational needs and, as a result, further reduce operational carbon emissions.

At Sainsbury’s food distribution centre at Prologis Park Pineham, for example, we installed a combined heat and power plant (CHP) that provides electricity and heat for the facility. The heat is produced during the electricity generation process and is used to drive an absorption refrigeration system as well as to heat harvested rainwater for use in an industrial tray wash in the on-site resource recycling unit.

We have also developed a new distribution hub in Northampton for Royal Mail, where the maintenance of a constant, comfortable temperature for staff in the sorting hall is an important priority. Therefore, to limit the use of fossil fuel, the sorting hall is heated by a biomass boiler and by a passive solar wall system, which uses the cladding of the building to capture heat from the sun.