Smart Energy Voices- Episode 80

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 80

Getting Creative to Make Net Zero Pencil, with Chris Thurston

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host Debra Chanil shares a keynote from Smart Energy Decisions’ recent Net-Zero forum, featuring Chris Thurston, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Lineage Logistics. As a company with a real vision for what the sustainable warehouse of the future should be, Lineage Logistics focuses on best-in-class energy efficiency, a zero-emission or reduced GHG fleet, and investments in infrastructure to distribute excess clean power. Chris explains the company’s challenges on the path to a financially viable, net-zero future.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • What is cold storage? [01:59]
  • Lineage’s sustainability journey [03:49]
  • Physically focused sustainability [06:43]
  • Energy efficiency in cold storage [08:07]
  • Next steps for Lineage [10:43]
  • Challenges with truck charging [14:55]
  • Relying less on utilities [19:00]


Sustainability at Lineage

Lineage Logistics’ journey with sustainability and energy began about 10 years ago in the Avon, Massachusetts site with a one-megawatt solar project. Chris, the accountant supporting that region, was brought on to the project because it initially didn’t work correctly. The company wasn’t seeing the savings it was hoping to achieve. Chris and his team turned that project into a large, fiscally focused approach.

Making projects pencil

Lineage Logistics’ approach to sustainability projects is financially motivated. Statistics are crucial to attaining buy-in with investors and the executive team, who will pursue initiatives that make sense on paper. Because Lineage’s first solar project was successful, the company implemented 20 more similar projects.

Over time, the company began experiencing more pressure to create a sustainability strategy. Being a physical asset-focused company, Lineage decided to make its sustainability approach physically focused. When people visit one of Lineage’s buildings, the company wants them to see sustainability live in action. Sustainability needs to be exemplified by every carbon-emitting source on site.


Creating sustainable opportunities

Lineage is piloting the installation of biodigesters onsite to use food waste as energy. The company is also looking into ammonia generation onsite, though most of these projects are cost-prohibitive. Lineage constantly searches for incentives, consistent with the company’s creative approach to making projects pencil. If the incentives don’t exist, the company makes every attempt to create them with local governments and customer collaboration.


Resources & People Mentioned:

Lineage Logistics

Connect with Chris Thurston 

Chris Thurston is the Energy & Sustainability leader for Lineage Logistics, the largest cold storage warehousing company in the world. Chris has over a decade of experience in Energy Management with an educational background in Finance & Accounting from Montclair State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. Chris has held various corporate finance roles for small to mid-sized companies in the manufacturing and logistics space. In his time at Lineage, Chris has helped develop their solar program to become the fifth largest in the US.

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