Crate and Barrel California Distribution Hub

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2010
Average Rating:       (0 Ratings)
aerial view of Crate and Barrell

Fast Facts

Address: Tracy, Calif.
Company/Developer: ProLogis
Project Specs: Build-to-Suit
Project Type: Warehouse/Distribution
Square Feet: 1.2 million square feet in two buildings

Project History: To accommodate its growing business and improve efficiencies, Crate and Barrel needed to consolidate three Northern California distribution facilities that it had outgrown. Together, Crate and Barrel and ProLogis developed a project plan for two buildings that met the retailer’s need for quality space delivered in a quick timeframe and in a sustainable manner.  In the spring of 2009, Crate and Barrel took occupancy of the completed warehouses. The first, comprising approximately 827,000 square feet is used to store and distribute its furniture products, while the second, comprising more than 398,000 square feet, is used as a distribution center for its housewares products.

Commitment to Sustainability

ProLogis takes pride in being a responsible global citizen. To us, this means striving to excel in environmental stewardship, social responsibility and ethics & governance. We created formal programs under each of these areas and included this commitment in our corporate mission statement: Our mission is to be the leading global provider of sustainable distribution facilities to the world’s largest users of distribution space and to maximize shareholder value through customer service, organizational excellence and our commitment to corporate social responsibility. It’s one thing to claim to be a good corporate citizen; having a qualified third party check your claims is another. That’s why, in April 2007, ProLogis became the first U.S. real estate company to begin issuing an annual corporate responsibility report in accordance with standards set by the Global Reporting Initiative.

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • We began collecting rents upon completion and property management fees for the ongoing maintenance of the buildings.
  • As a result of installing energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems and other sustainable features, the facility is expected to achieve 38 percent greater energy efficiency than industry standards.
  • For the installation of an efficient lighting system and other energy-saving features, Pacific Gas and Electric awarded a $350,000 incentive check. This nearly satisfies ROI for many of the energy efficient upgrades.
  • The lighting system cost an additional 25-30 percent at initial purchase, but has the potential to produce a 75 percent lighting energy savings per year. Crate and Barrel saves an estimated 3.17 megawatt-hours in lighting use per year, which equates to about $460,000 in annual cost savings (assuming utility fees equal $.145 per kWh).
  • The project is located in the Port of Stockton’s Foreign Trade Zone, which allows Crate and Barrel to receive added tax benefits and limits any tariffs that might normally be incurred with international trade.
Crate and Barrell

Site Sustainability/Materials Use 

  • The project was designed to provide ample open space, promoting biodiversity while reducing the development footprint. The project has designated 124 percent more open space than minimum code requirements.
  • An Erosion and Sedimentation Control plan for all construction activities was executed. The plan outlined measures implemented to prevent loss of soil by storm run-off and/or wind erosion; prevent sedimentation of storm sewer or receiving streams; and prevent polluting the air with dust and other particles.
  • As part of the land procurement and entitlement process, an Environmental Impact Assessment was completed. During the assessment process, we identified that there are no threatened or impacted species/habitats near the development site.
  • This project is positioned near the City of Tracy’s Tracer Bus Line with direct access to Interstates 205, 5 and 580 as well as other bus lines within Tracer’s transit system.
  • Both buildings include bicycle storage facilities to serve five percent of all users and shower facilities for use by building occupants – these features offer employees the option to bike to work. In addition, preferred carpool and high-efficiency vehicle parking spaces are offered in the parking lot.
  • During construction, 96 percent of construction debris was diverted from landfills and recycled for future use. In addition, we utilized 45 percent recycled content for the completed structure and more than 40 percent of construction materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.
  • The building was designed to accommodate Crate and Barrel’s recycling programs by designating space for recycling containers.
  • We used products that emit low (or no) levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The design team worked diligently to specify compliant products for adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets.
  • The exterior of these facilities are not typical of average warehouse buildings. The exterior walls contain approximately 10-foot-high windows that surround the front entrance. Not only do the windows improve aesthetics, but they allow ample natural light into the facility – reducing energy consumption and enhancing worker productivity.

Energy Efficiency 

  • Both buildings were constructed with a white, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roof. Traditionally, warehouses have black EPDM rubber roofing membranes or gray built-up roofs, which absorb heat from sunlight. White TPO roofing offers the same performance, while reducing urban heat island effect, minimizing the load on the building’s cooling/heating system and often providing a more comfortable work environment. In addition, the facility fully complies with ASHRAE Standard 09.1-2004.
  • Neither building contains CFC-base refrigerants in its HVAC equipment.
  • Approximately two percent of the roof area is covered with skylights. Therefore, lighting needs are reduced. When it is required, the energy-efficient lighting system, comprising fluorescent light fixtures, reduces energy consumption by up to 70 percent.
  • Motion sensors detect movement and turn lights off if an area is not in use for a designated time period (typically 10 minutes).  Photocells can adjust the amount of light needed according to how much natural light is entering the building, maintaining constant light levels throughout the day.
Crate and Barrell green space

Water Efficiency 

  • All fixtures selected for the lavatories were chosen for their water-saving features and are estimated to save 74 percent above the EPAct (Energy Policy Act) baseline. Over a year, these products are estimated to save 115,080 gallons in potable water reduction and 6.8 million gallons in landscape water reduction, when compared to average water use.
  • We used water efficient plants in our landscape design to minimize water consumption. The entire landscaped area is very minimal and much of the landscaping includes natural plants that don’t need irrigation. Little water is needed to maintain the health and beauty of the landscape, about 44 percent less than standard sites.
  • Design of the buildings included a stormwater management plan that designed the site to retain 100 percent of runoff water in retention ponds. This guarantees that no pollutants enter natural waterways.


  • The highly efficient ventilation systems are unique in the Central Valley of California and are not typical of standard warehouses, plus the systems have proven to be very effective in saving energy costs and increasing employee productivity. After operations are completed for the day, Crate and Barrel turns up the ventilation system, which pulls in cool night air from the outside while simultaneously exhausting warmer air from the roof areas. This air exchange continues throughout the night so workers arrive to a cool, fresh warehouse in the morning. These systems were designed specifically for these buildings, and work well given the temperature swings and high thermal mass experienced with the concrete walls and floors.
  • The company uses internal systems to optimize the movement of goods within the warehouse. Workers remain stationary while individual racks are moved by robotic pods to the workers for fulfillment of orders. This mobile fulfillment system helps Crate and Barrel greatly improve efficiencies while increasing employee satisfaction.  Together, the warehouse design and Crate and Barrel’s operating systems keep inside traffic to a minimum,  uphold safety standards and utilize common-sense organization.