Lineage team conducting a Facility Energy Evaluation on a rooftop with solar panels, showcasing their commitment to sustainability and net-zero carbon emissions.

Facility Energy Evaluations: A People-Centric Approach to Net Zero

An Article by Lineage's Aer Teale - Director, Engineering

February 13, 2024

In 2021 Lineage signed The Climate Pledge, making the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. But our values around sustainability pre-date that commitment. That's because Lineage’s purpose drives all who carry the Lineage shield. It’s our team members—and their servant-leadership approach to the cold chain—that helps us meet the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to feed the world.

The Origins of the Facility Energy Evaluation

The seed was planted in 2019, when Energy Manager Robert Formoso combined his passions for talent development and energy conservation. At the University Park facility in Chicago, he started convening monthly meetings to explore how regular maintenance could improve overall energy efficiency. What happens when you walk the entire facility in search of straightforward, energy-saving fixes and adjustments?

The Need for Efficiency

First, some context. When a significant portion of your carbon footprint is generated from electricity usage, having a culture of responsible consumption is critical to our progress in becoming more sustainable. Consider that 60%–90% of a temperature-controlled warehouse’s total energy use goes to refrigeration1. This system is also critical in keeping food safe. This is the reason why optimizing refrigeration is crucial, both to our business and to our sustainability efforts. 

The Facility Energy Evaluation in Action

Facility Energy Evaluations require a servant leadership approach. Combining teaching, coaching and collaboration, the Facility Energy Evaluation focuses on the operational behaviors and facility maintenance practices that impact the refrigeration systems.

In 2020, Robert took this idea on the road with the first official energy evaluation in Dodge City, Kansas. That was the first of 19 energy evaluations that year where he showed teams how to do everything from setting up compressor control parameters to inspecting the overall health of the building envelope. The experiment was a success. At some facilities we’ve seen a 20% - 40% improvement in energy efficiency thanks to a Facility Energy Evaluation2

How the Facility Energy Evaluation Builds Culture

When I joined Lineage in 2021, I knew that getting to net-zero emissions will need both technology and people, they complement each other. I’m proud of the work we’re doing to increase our solar and renewables footprint. As of December 2022, we have 108MW of onsite solar at Lineage locations in the United States3. Lineage was recognized for its outstanding on-site solar adoption, ranking as one of the top U.S. businesses in the Solar Energy Industries Association's 2022 report. At our Colton, California facility we’re using solar and other techniques to produce 100% of our own energy on a net basis.

But working with Robert showed me that technology and innovation are only part of the story. And that achieving sustainable growth is not accomplished in one big action, but many little, interrelated actions rooted in the pillars of sustainable growth. Building a culture of conservation—one where everyone can contribute—is central to our success. 

Local Solutions for Local Challenges

For over two years, Robert and I traveled through the Lineage community to conduct and teach the art and science of the Facility Energy Evaluation. We always focus on the team members because they are the ones who will ultimately find the local solutions that will get us where we want to be as a company. To date we've completed Facility Energy Evaluations at over 100 warehouses in North America and across Europe. There are now dedicated Field Support Teams in North America and Europe. The seed that one person planted in 2019 and carefully tended has now taken root, and I’m proud to be a part of a community that cares.  

Sadly, Robert passed away prior to publishing this article. He was a good friend, mentor and coach to many people inside and outside of Lineage. I am grateful for the time I had with Robert and the many conversations of how we wanted to approach our work together, to be intentional in how we built our team together and how we wanted our work to be a reflection of Lineage’s Values. I am especially grateful for helping to make our work together a safe space where we could be our authentic selves. It is a privilege to carry the same Lineage Shield that Robert did and keep moving ever forward on the principles he taught us. 


1 Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (2018). Industrial Refrigeration Energy Efficiency Handbook Energy Efficiency Handbook. 

2 Cold Chain Federation (2020). Energy Efficiency Guide. Issue 1 

3 As of Q4 2022 (2022 Lineage Logistics Sustainability Report)