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Project Lightyear Achieves FOYA Recognition

In a remarkable acknowledgment from the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), United Therapeutics' Project Lightyear has been awarded an Honorable Mention by this year's Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA). 

The announcement was made at the 2024 ISPE Europe Annual Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, marking Project Lightyear as one of six globally recognized projects, and notably the only awardee from the United States. The awards ceremony is set for this fall in Orlando, FL, at the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering’s (ISPE) Annual Meeting.


Located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Project Lightyear is a pioneering advance in sustainable architecture. It is the only cold room storage facility honored this year at FOYA, highlighting its exceptional design and commitment to environmental stewardship. The facility is distinguished as the first to be submitted as a net zero facility, reflecting a significant shift towards sustainable development in pharmaceutical projects.

“Project Lightyear is the first of its kind globally to operate in a carbon-zero capacity while maintaining a cGMP environment. That type of achievement isn’t possible without a client who is committed not only to saving lives but also to not harming the environment in the process. United Therapeutics challenged and led the Design-Build team to achieve these sustainability goals while maintaining an aggressive schedule that spanned a global pandemic. It was a phenomenal team, and it is exciting to see their achievements recognized by ISPE FOYA” 


- Chris Small, Science Market Leader

The facility is designed to support United Therapeutics’ mission to develop life-saving therapies for patients with rare diseases, while simultaneously addressing significant environmental concerns. It houses Tyvaso, an inhaled therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and pulmonary hypertension associated with interstitial lung disease (PH-ILD). Tyvaso is vital for improving exercise capacity and enhancing blood flow in the lungs, requiring stringent storage conditions which Project Lightyear adeptly provides.

Equipped with advanced technology, Project Lightyear features a rooftop photovoltaic array, geothermal exchange systems, and a Tesla-powered microgrid system. These features enable the facility to operate independently from the power grid during emergencies, maintain critical storage conditions, and achieve net zero carbon emissions.

“Traditionally, FOYA winning facilities are focused on the manufacturing of clinical or commercial products and research lab facilities enabling discovery of medicine. However, given the very specific focus on environmental sustainability and being the first facility to be submitted as net zero facility, the FOYA judging team is making an exception to recognize United Therapeutics’ submission for their new warehouse facility …” – FOYA press release

In recognition of its resilient design and commitment to sustainability, Project Lightyear has achieved LEED Gold and is on track to receive additional prestigious certifications, including LEED Zero Energy, LEED Zero Carbon, and Energy Star.

Video by Press Record Media. 

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