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Congressman celebrates nation’s “coolest” cold storage facility in Tacoma with local and federal officials

Unique partnership brings jobs and cost-savings to community

On Fri., August 9, Congressman Derek Kilmer, along with officials from Tacoma Power and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), joined NewCold executives for a visit of their newest warehouse facility in Tacoma, one of two of the most energy-efficient cold storage warehouses in the country by more than 50 percent. The energy savings were made possible by a partnership with Tacoma Power and BPA’s Energy Smart Industrial program, and was one of several compelling factors that led NewCold to locate their new facility, and its 75 new jobs, in Tacoma rather than elsewhere.

“I was excited to celebrate NewCold and their investment in Tacoma today,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This project is not only cold – it’s cool.  It’s cool to see that an employer can invest in innovative technologies and also invest in its people.  It’s cool to see that a company like this can do the right thing for the planet by investing in energy efficiency and improve their competitiveness at the same time.  And it’s cool to see jobs being created in our community.”

The energy savings of NewCold’s automated 135-foot, high-bay cold storage warehouse will save them $6 million over the next 10 years by reducing their energy use by 8 million kilowatt hours per year, enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 600 average Tacoma Power homes.

More than half the savings come from the building design and automation, which required sophisticated analysis by engineers from Tacoma Power, BPA and its consultants, and earned NewCold a $1.5 million conservation incentive toward the cost of construction. The NewCold building saves substantial energy by storing pallets tightly together using automated cranes in a high-bay freezer storage area that remains unlit during most operating hours. Increasing the product storage density of the freezer space reduced the amount of energy required to keep the products cold. Other energy saving features of the project include installation of an efficient refrigeration system, as well as LED lighting and controls.

“Tacoma Power is proud to celebrate this unprecedented partnership. Our engineers worked with BPA and their consultants to help NewCold design their latest, most energy-efficient cold storage facility in the country, right here in Tacoma,” said Chris Robinson, superintendent of Tacoma Power. “The energy savings from NewCold’s innovative building design represent the largest conservation project in Tacoma Power’s history. It would cost us more than twice as much to supply NewCold with the same amount of power we were able to save through this project.”

Tacoma Power offers several conservation incentive programs for commercial customers to lower their energy use. BPA’s Energy Smart Industrial (ESI) program helps utility customers and their industrial end-users achieve cost-effective energy savings. Providing value to large and small industries alike, ESI offers a comprehensive suite of program components, best-in-class technical expertise, and resources to serve a broad range of industries.

“Tacoma Power is both a key customer and an industry partner for Bonneville. Our collaboration with utilities such as Tacoma is central to the success of BPA’s Energy Smart Industrial program,” says BPA Administrator, Elliot Mainzer. “When we integrate energy efficiency in building design and operations like this, the investment pays dividends to the owner, the community and the environment.”

Construction on the facility began in 2015 and incorporated early recommendations by Tacoma Power and BPA to specify which features would ensure a highly-efficient refrigeration system for maintaining the required refrigerated space temperatures. Tacoma Power, BPA and its consulting engineers worked closely with facility operators to optimize system settings that will achieve the highest possible amount of energy savings.

“We chose to build our newest refrigeration facility in Tacoma, because of Tacoma Power’s inexpensive, carbon-free, renewable hydropower, and because the energy savings from the project significantly reduce our annual operating costs,” said Matt Richardson, site manager from NewCold.

The new facility has created 75 family-wage jobs in Tacoma and NewCold expects that number to double within the first five years of operation.


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