California to house largest net-zero logistics hub in North America

Sustainable design and engineering firm Stantec has been selected as the main consultant for a project that will create a milestone for net-zero logistics in the U.S. over the next seven years

Sustainable design and engineering firm Stantec has been selected as the main consultant for a project to deliver a net-zero logistics facility in California.

The World Logistics Center project for private real estate developer Highland Fairview will be constructed over seven years and promises to be the largest planned logistics and business park in North America.

The estimated US$25 billion distribution hub will serve destinations across the continent. But more than a freight hub, the development will contain 40-plus million square feet of facilities over 2600 acres, including walkable streets, cafes, restaurants, spaces for arts and culture, breweries and public space.

‘The development will contain 40-plus million square feet of facilities over 2600 acres…’

Stantec’s work will focus on future-ready and highly sustainable infrastructure. Its role includes civil engineering; industrial buildings architecture; geomatics; water and wastewater design; landscape architecture; urban planning; smart mobility and AV consulting; funding consulting; as well as energy and innovation design.

‘The World Logistics Center is a major commitment in the next generation of sustainability and logistics operations,’ explains Iddo Benzeevi, president and chief executive of Highland Fairview. ‘Our engineering partnership with Stantec will be important in our success, bringing all our combined engineering and design pieces together in a fully integrated operation to execute our vision and bring it to reality.’

Supply chain solutions

Located in the heart of Southern California’s Golden Triangle, a region that encompasses Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties and the Inland Empire – the hub will have a direct connection to one of the busiest seaports and three of the busiest airports in the US.

More than 40 per cent of goods coming to the US pass through the Golden Triangle. Housing multiple national brands and logistics providers, the centre, says Stantec, will be capable of overnight delivery to the 11 western states and within-three-day goods delivery, from port to facility, to any destination in the continental United States.

To maximise supply-chain efficiency, the centre will use SCADA systems to integrate logistics providers for co-ordination. This ensures the maximum number of trucks depart full by carrying shipments from multiple providers, as needed. The result will not only be increased shipping efficiency but also better use of transportation resources, and reduced carbon emissions.

Net zero and sustainability

The World Logistics Center is also planned to be a carbon-neutral facility, making it the largest sustainable logistics cluster in the US.

‘Highland Fairview’s vision for a net-zero and sustainable economic centre has not yet been tackled on this scale in the US,’ explains Brianna Daniels, principal-in-charge for Stantec. ‘We’re proud to be a part of this inspirational project, which will have such positive community outcomes in Moreno Valley and around North America.’

With 40-plus million square feet of rooftops, the centre will have a vast capacity for solar power integration. Stantec will examine the use of battery storage and microgrids on site to increase energy resilience, with the idea that the facility will not have to rely on the external power grid.

Water conservation, a critical issue in California, will also be a priority for the development. Facility design is expected to result in a 70-per-cent reduction in water usage compared with the current general plan for the City of Moreno Valley.

According to Stantec, this will lead to savings of 653 million gallons of water every year ­– enough water for 27,000 households. Drainage through the site will be treated before discharge, while paying careful attention to maintaining historic drainage patterns and protecting the downstream environment.

‘The scale of this iconic project and its focus on sustainability creates a unique opportunity to advance the development of sustainable construction and operational practices in industrial buildings,’ says  Dave Calder, global industrial sector leader for Stantec.

Mobility innovation

The site will be designed for budding technologies, while also tapping into the latest mobility solutions – both for freight and passenger travel to and from the site, and within the site. The facility will be able to accommodate electric vehicles, too, with 1080 charging stations planned. Chargers will be available for freight and logistics vehicles, employees, and visitors.

Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology is also being explored for the site through Stantec’s autonomous vehicle consulting arm, Stantec GenerationAV. Trucking is set to be one of the first industries to break through on AV technology, and the new logistics hub will be designed so it’s ready to lead in this area. Highland Fairview is currently in discussion for the acquisition of zero-emission semi-trucks, and AV shuttles are being looked into as a means of local travel within the development.

Visioning and placemaking strategies will also offer restaurants, cafes, and recreation facilities, to give the centre the feel of a miniature city and a desirable new employment destination.

A core team from Stantec will be co-located with Highland Fairview on the project site, with additional resources supporting from across North America. Project design is currently underway, with construction slated to start later this year. The project will add six million square feet per year until its projected completion in 2030.

Andrew Sansom is editorial director of SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange. Salus is a content partner of WORKTECH Academy
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