Thermo King
, Babylon, NY
LEED NC 2.2 Certified

Architect:  Harrold Gebhard Architects
LEED Consultant:  Peter Caradonna Architecture and Planning

Role:  LEED Project Administrator, Design and Construction documentation


Thermo King of Long Island manufactures and repairs transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers, and railway cars.  The business outgrew their original location due to the growing staff and increased business.  It was while planning their 12,000 square foot headquarters, in the Town of Babylon, that the owners of Thermo King of Long Island’s first became aware of LEED.  Due to Town of Babylon legislation requiring all buildings over 4,000 square feet to pursue LEED certification the building was forced to look at the rating system and make decisions that would contribute to its certification.  While actual certification was required by law, after an initial LEED Charette, the owner realized there were better reasons beyond the requirement to move forward with certification and it ultimately has become a proud part of the project.

The design of the $1 million, 12,000 square foot building was dictated by its industrial surroundings, ease of construction and the owners request for an expedited construction schedule.  While the existing location, only a couple of miles away, remains open Thermo King of Long Island’s new headquarters now houses their entire office staff, parts storage, and shop.   The resulting design is simple and industrial, as are the surrounding buildings, with the superstructure being composed of a pre-manufactured steel building with concrete block infill. 

The building has two major users, the office staff and shop workers.  Since each of these uses are significantly different in many ways they were taken into consideration when making decision on what “green” features to include in the building and which LEED credits to pursue.  Decisions were made to focus attention on Energy and Atmosphere and Indoor Environmental Quality credits when looking at the LEED rating system.  Many of the energy efficiency decisions were made easy due to minimal cost premiums and short payback times on things like additional insulation and lighting with increased efficiency.  The fact that the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) offered some financial incentives for these upgrades, specifically in a LEED registered project, made those decisions even easier with the reduced payback time. The indoor air quality decisions were made due to the nature of the business and the past experience of the office staff working extremely close to the shop.

Energy efficiency goals were achieved by the use of additional insulation in the walls and roof, energy efficient lighting, and efficient, right-sized heating and cooling equipment.  Due to the type of work Thermo King of Long Island does, fixing and installing temperature and refrigeration systems in trucks and buses, the operators of the building are very familiar with heating and cooling systems and were, therefore, very aware of what was being proposed for the building during the design phase.  This knowledge base ensured informed decisions were being made in regards to the building systems. 

Careful effort was put into greatly reducing the amount of dirt, debris, and other pollutants generated in the shop from entering the office space.  Separate entrances for each of these different building users minimizes the likelihood that pollutants will enter the office space in the first place.  Additionally a break room, showers, and a changing room was provided for shop workers adjacent to the shop while dedicated bathrooms are provided for both office and shop workers. Another design feature that contributes to both indoor air quality and energy efficiency is the fact that the wall dividing the shop and office spaces is insulated, in addition to all exterior walls, to reduce noise and other pollutants as well as thermally separate the spaces which have requirements that are significantly different.

Plumbing fixtures that were selected for the building realize just fewer than 40% in water savings. In addition the installed irrigation system will be used to establish all plantings and then will be disconnected due to the fact that rainfall on Long Island is evenly distributed throughout the year and is more than sufficient to meet the needs of all installed landscaping.

Careful consideration was given to materials selected for the project. The minimal materials palette of the building, a steel frame with block infill, ensures easy maintenance and an appropriate look for the buildings surroundings. Carpet, paints, and adhesives, among other materials were all chosen because of their environmentally-friendly attributes as well as their appropriateness and ease of maintenance.  Additionally, during construction, materials were delivered on an as needed basis, eliminating the need to store materials on-site that could be damaged or contaminated due to construction activities.  This approach also ensured trades working on any given day were left with a site ready for work and free of conflicts.