Clean, Intelligent Manufacturing in Tracy

Taylor Keep, P.E., Senior Director, Head of Building Science


Katerra recently installed a 1.117-megawatt (MW) rooftop solar array at our 577,000 square-foot building components factory in Tracy, Calif. to offset a majority of the facility’s energy consumption with renewable energy. Featuring over 3,000 solar panels, this array will generate around 1.73-gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity annually. Over the system’s 25-year lifespan, we will offset more than 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equal to the emissions from 450,000 gallons of gasoline. This solar array is part of our commitment to sustainability and the holistic approach we are taking to deliver improved environmental performance.

We also recently implemented an intelligent energy monitoring platform at our Tracy factory that uses artificial intelligence to detect facility issues and pinpoint energy-saving opportunities. With clean onsite generation and energy submetering, this factory is now positioned to deliver high-quality, low-carbon building components with even greater operational excellence.

Katerra’s Tracy factory is positioned to offset a majority of the facility’s energy consumption with renewable energy.

Energy Intelligence

Katerra partnered with Verdigris to install an electricity submetering system that monitors equipment performance and drives utility cost savings. During our first month of monitoring, we uncovered a list of five key operational improvements to save energy, including phase balance correction, lighting control commissioning, and compressor controls.

Solar by the Numbers
  • 1.117MWdc from 3,249 solar panels
  • 66 percent offset of all factory electricity (based upon 2020 use)
  • >100 percent offset of manufacturing operations in 2020
  • >4,000 metric tons of CO2 reduced over 25 years, equal 450,000 gallons of gasoline consumed

Verdigris’ fast sampling meters also enable artificial intelligence algorithms to track the health of our equipment and anticipate maintenance needs. Submetering is an important part of our efforts to quantify the environmental footprint of our assemblies and buildings. With this monitoring in place, we can report the energy used to manufacture each wall, window, and cabinet, then roll that up into a whole building environmental declaration. By using this data from across the product lifecycle, Katerra can identify impact hot spots and prioritize strategies that add value for our customers and care for the environment.

Read: Katerra’s Cutting-Edge Manufacturing Processes Made More Efficient by Verdigris AI Smart Meters

Environmental Impact

By adding solar and retaining its renewable energy credits, Katerra can manufacture building components with a lower embodied carbon footprint. In doing so, we are further increasing the environmental benefits of offsite construction, which is already well regarded as a way to significantly reduce material waste compared to traditional construction.

Today, buildings are responsible for more carbon emissions globally than either the transportation sector or all other industries combined. By shifting field construction into a clean-powered factory and optimizing our logistics, Katerra is eager to show an important pathway for the construction industry to trim its massive carbon footprint.

By shifting field construction into a clean-powered factory and optimizing our logistics, Katerra is eager to show an important pathway for the construction industry to trim its massive carbon footprint.

The factory will produce the equivalent of 12,500 multifamily units annually.

About the Tracy Factory

Katerra’s 577,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility has fully automated wood frame wall production lines, automated floor lines, automated cabinet and finish areas, automated roof truss lines, an automated window line and a light gauge steel production line. The factory will produce, on an annual basis, the equivalent of 12,500 multifamily units while bringing more than 500 new jobs to California’s East Bay region.

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