Exploration of LEED Design Approaches for Warehouse and Distribution Centers

By: Edmund Klimek, AIA, KSS Architects

Release Date: December 2008

The research examined sustainable design practices particular to distribution centers and offered recommendations organized around the LEED Core and Shell approach. The research reviewed the LEED CS checklist and presented points that could readily be achieved within standard design/construction approaches, points that could be viewed in an interpretive manner that addresses the unique characteristics of the building type, and offered approaches that would be unique to Distribution Centers. Fundamental to the research was the understanding that distribution centers are essentially different than heavily occupied buildings, that they use energy and resources differently, and that the criteria for site selection suggests different approaches. Also fundamental was the concept that while they work differently, the same underlying principles for sustainability could be applied and that they can have a significant environmental impact.

The report was provided to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as resource material for the Working Group assigned to reviewing adaptations of LEED credits for the industrial building category. These adaptations would be used in concert with current LEED-NC credits offering specific interpretations and additional points that could pertain to warehouse/distribution typologies.