Project Lightyear: To Infinity and Beyond With Zero Carbon + Microgrid cGMP Warehousing

Andy Campbell, United Therapeutics Corporation
John Duffy, Affiliated Engineers, Inc

United Therapeutics (UT) has been targeting net zero energy (NZE) design on a variety of new facilities, with the most recent being an all-electric, onsite zero energy/carbon cGMP warehouse facility with zero fossil fuels. Operational reliability is essential for maintaining product viability, so to hold firm on the non-fossil fuel commitment throughout the project, the emergency and standby power are provided by a ohotovoltaic (PV) and electric battery storage microgrid.

The design-build approach to Project Lightyear has enabled the project team to develop a new standard for what sustainability could mean in the biopharma space, with rigorous attention to cost, efficiency, redundancy, reliability, and decarbonization. A geothermal heating and cooling approach underpins the low energy use intensity (EUI) design, with key contributions from the high-performance envelope, LED lighting and controls, and regenerative-lift electric fork trucks.

With the investment to achieve onsite zero energy via PV, United Therapeutics wanted to ensure those panels would continue to output power during a grid outage. A microgrid design was required to allow for islanding, and battery storage was determined to best align with the zero operational carbon goal. The team learned and will share various lessons about sizing and selecting components, limited market availability for microgrid battery systems, and navigating the code challenges of a fire pump on a battery system.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain an understanding the energy demands and profile of cGMP warehousing and challenges with benchmarking;
  • Gain an understanding of the battery energy storage system sizing process and tools, along with factors to consider;
  • Gather insight on the code-related challenges of fossil fuel-free backup power systems and implications for system sizing, including considerations for fire pumps; and
  • Gather insight on microgrid system elements and design process.


Andy brings a broad base of knowledge to his work via his background in civil engineering design, extensive experience in heavy civil and mixed-use commercial construction, and research into cutting edge green technologies. His current focus is highly sustainable office and GMP laboratory developments that maintain focus on occupant satisfaction.

John has served as Project Manager on a variety of state-of-the-art science facilities including facilities with programs for chemistry, biology, math and physics, marine biology, psychology, chemical, and electrical, and mechanical engineering.


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