Successful design arises from a synthesis of ideas about reaching clearly stated goals.  The first phase of design is discussion among the operator, engineers, shippers, and members of the community in which a facility operates.  This discussion establishes a framework of objectives within which to design specific project features. TransDevelopment keeps the dialogue open throughout the design and construction process to ensure that the final project remains true to its goals.

LEED Perspectives

LEED Perspectives

Several LEED-endorsed strategies that can be applied to terminal development are outlined below.


The refrigerants used in HVAC systems can deplete the earth’s ozone layer and contribute to global warming potential. Therefore it is important not to use Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in new HVAC equipment and phase out any CFCs from existing equipment. The use of natural refrigerants such as, water or carbon dioxide are alternatives to atmosphere degrading refrigerants such as CFCs, HFCs, and HCFCs. Better yet, the use of HVAC equipment can be minimized or even eliminated using passive design strategies, increasing building envelope efficiency, and turn lights off during the day.

High Solar Reflective Index (SRI) Pavements and Roofs

Solar Reflective Index (SRI) is the ability of a surface to reflect sunlight; black has an SRI of 0, meaning it doesn’t reflect any light, whereas white has an SRI of 100. Large expanses of pavement along with roof space of warehouses or administrative buildings make up the large majority of industrial distribution facilities. Dark colored pavement and roof space absorb the sun’s heat and contribute to the heat island effect. Changing the dark colored pavement and roof space to a shade of white will reflect the sun’s radiation rather than absorb it, reducing the heat island effect.

Rain Water Capture

Commonly rainwater is harvested directly from the roof of a building, truck canopy, or other large elevated surface. The rainwater captured from the roof is relatively clean; therefore no treatment is necessary unless the water is to be used in toilets in which case the only treatment required is sediment filtration and UV treatment. After basic filtration and treatment is completed the water can be stored in a large cistern either above or below ground. The captured water can then be used for washing cars, flush toilets, and irrigation. This strategy can reduce the quantity of storm water runoff as well as result in a monthly payback from reduced potable water usage.

Construction Waste Management

When new asphalt or paving is installed, the existing hardscape must be torn up and removed. Rather than disposing of the old asphalt, it can be grinded into a finer aggregate and utilized as the underlying aggregate bed for the new asphalt. Reusing construction waste products saves money, reduces demand for virgin materials, and diverts waste from landfills.

Open Grid Paving

Open grid paving is a method that allows for partial surface permeability through the creation of open space in the pavement that can be filled with either grass or gravel. Installing open grid paving is a strategy that can be utilized to reduce the heat island effect, decrease storm water runoff quantity, and allow for the recharge of ground water through natural infiltration.

Alternative Transportation

Purchasing fuel efficient fleet vehicles, implementing employee car share programs, and encouraging mass transit are all strategies that can reduce green house gas emissions associated with employee transportation. For example, The Port of Portland utilizes several hybrid models in their fleet of vehicles for employees to drive during the hours of operation.

Green Space

Green Space

Local zoning regulations often include landscaping requirements for all sites, including industrial facilities and freight terminals, because living plants serve both human and environmental needs.  Landscaping adds beauty to the built environment, giving pleasure to the people moving around and through a site.  It also prevents soil erosion, collects storm water, and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.  Landscaped areas can filter heat and particles from storm and process water before that water enters a stream, bay or aquifer.
Landscaping can be incorporated throughout a terminal in ways to enhance operations.  Traffic-tolerant groundcover in paving blocks enhances the employee parking area.  Trees and vines surrounding administrative buildings provide shade that keeps the building cooler and reduces air conditioning costs.  Grasses, sedges, reeds and shrubs in bioswales capture storm water.

From tropical to desert ecosystems, locally appropriate plantings enhance the visual character and environmental integration of a terminal.

Zoned Pavements

Zoned Pavements

To accommodate heavy vehicles, equipment, and cargo, many terminals install heavy duty paving throughout the facility though only a fraction of the facility is put to heavy duty use.  Over paving wastes resources in installation, maintenance, and removal.

An effective alternative is to construct zoned pavement sections, limiting the heavy duty paving to those areas of the terminal where it is needed.  A variety of paving materials can be used to indicate the intended use of an area.  For example, private vehicle driveway and parking areas may be paved with vegetated blocks while extensive light duty areas are paved with porous asphalt and heavy duty zones are paved with impervious concrete.

Zoned paving provides flexibility to respond to changes in the flow of material, vehicles, and personnel throughout the facility over time.  Areas of vegetated and light duty paving can be moved, reconfigured, or replaced with heavy duty paving as facility needs shift.  Minimizing heavy duty paving is an important step in reducing environmental impacts while maximizing operational efficiency.