As our physical building footprint started increasing in the late 1990‘s, we made a concerted effort to apply environmental guidelines and our guiding principles to the way we design, construct and operate our facilities. The objective was to ensure the application of sustainable practices in our projects. This approach was used in 2000 as design began for the former Torrance, California, headquarters campus expansion known as South Campus. This 643,000 square-foot project increased the size of the headquarters campus by 47 percent and, when completed in 2003, was the largest commercial LEED Gold® building in the world. South Campus was also home to what at the time was the largest commercial rooftop solar photovoltaic system as well as many other sustainable features.
Since then, our North American real estate holdings have grown, and several facilities have undergone expansions. During this time, we have continually refined our approach to green building and construction.
We aim to incorporate the highest levels of sustainable features in all aspects of construction and renovation projects. These are the key steps we take as we progress through designing, constructing and commissioning new projects:
Integrated sustainability is incorporated into the very early stages of conceptual design using a deductive approach. This means that we aim to leave “no stone unturned” in looking at incorporating sustainable design and systems opportunities. A broad range of options is discussed and evaluated from the beginning.
While a wide variety of options is discussed, not everything makes sense for a given project. For instance, using a geothermal system to assist the building cooling system at our headquarters campus in Plano seemed like a good idea to reduce electricity consumption. A good idea, that is, until analysis showed, due to the heavy cooling load imposed by the hot northern Texas summer, the ground temperature would be raised by two degrees!
On-site wind power in Texas seemed to make sense until we realized the wind turbine blades would be more than 300 feet in diameter and their noise level would not be so neighborly.
Our efforts have been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with the award of five LEED Platinum® certifications: three for the Plano, Texas, headquarters campus and one each for the Production Engineering & Manufacturing Center in Georgetown, Kentucky; the Supplier Center in York Township, Michigan; and the Lexus Eastern Area Office in Parsippany, New Jersey.
In addition, we have 12 facilities that have earned other levels of LEED certification (Gold, Silver and Certified), and many of our independent dealers have followed our lead. In fact, we have more Toyota/Lexus LEED-certified dealerships than our competitors combined.
Over 40% of all imported goods to the United States flow through the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complexes. The Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area is home to some of the worst air quality in the nation.
Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) Long Beach is one of three main Toyota port facilities for North American import/export. TLS Long Beach processes about 200,000 vehicles a year and is the only point of import for the Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle.
Toyota is completing a renovation of the TLS port facility that completely reimagines how the facility impacts people and planet. Using LEED® standards as a guide, the renovation includes projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy and improve public health and air quality in a disadvantaged community.
The TLS Long Beach renovation consists of three major elements:
The TLS Long Beach facility reconstruction will improve vehicle flow and increase processing efficiencies.
The Portal Truck / Heavy-Duty Vehicle Hydrogen Fueling Station will be part of a five-station heavy-duty fueling network for the Los Angeles basin that provides multiple sources of hydrogen throughout the region.
The Trigeneration (Trigen) Direct Fuel Cell Power Plant will supply the hydrogen to the fueling stations. Bio-gas sourced from agricultural waste will produce high quality, 100% renewable hydrogen fuel for PORTAL Heavy-Duty Truck (HDT) and Mirai.
Trigen will also generate renewable electricity to power Toyota’s onsite logistics operations, which will make TLS Long Beach the first Toyota port operations in the world to use 100% renewable electricity from onsite generation.
Additionally, Trigen will generate water to supplement municipal water for the onsite carwash – an important element, given the port’s location in an area of high water stress.
Translated into action, Trigen will be used by TLS to fuel imported vehicles with 100% renewable fuel, put them on trucks fueled by 100% renewable fuel and zero emissions, and eventually deliver to customers in a sustainable way.
TLS Long Beach has applied for LEED certification under the USGBC’s LEED for New Construction rating system. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy savings, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts, and improved indoor environmental quality. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED is able to be applied to all building types, commercial as well as residential. It works throughout the building lifecycle: design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fit-outs, and significant retrofits.
We’ve learned a great deal from these experiences, and we are applying our learning to other projects.
For example, the new Eastern Canada Parts Distribution Center in Ontario uses geothermal heating that reduces the building’s reliance on natural gas, has dynamic self-dimming glass throughout the offices, uses motion-sensor LED lights, and saves water by collecting rainwater in a cistern and using low-flow water fixtures. A solar array has been installed and began operating in 2022. This building earned Zero Carbon Building design certification from the Canadian Green Building Council and has also applied for LEED certification.
We continue to refine our approach to green building, looking for ways to minimize the environmental footprint of our buildings and maximize our positive impacts. Not all projects will pursue LEED certification, but all will aim to incorporate sustainable features to the greatest practical extent.
These actions support the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, which aims to go beyond merely minimizing environmental impact to creating net positive change. We look forward to sharing additional green building successes in the future, including the construction of a new visitor center at the assembly plant in Mississippi. This project has been submitted for LEED® certification.