First Zero-Energy Cruise Terminal Opens

The Royal Caribbean Group’s new zero-energy cruise terminal is on track to earn LEED Gold and will be fully solar-powered.

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Adobe Stock: Photo by natalia

Royal Caribbean Group‘s Galveston terminal will be the first cruise terminal to generate 100% of its needed energy through on-site solar panels. Opening Nov. 9, the company’s Royal Caribbean International brand will use the terminal.

The cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston will be the first in Texas to achieve LEED Gold certification, an industry-leading certification expected to be received within the first two quarters of 2023.

In developing the cruise terminal, Royal Caribbean Group approached design strategies that align with its wholistic environmental goals, its focus to advance sustainable infrastructure, as well as its decarbonization strategy—Destination Net Zero—including:

Improved Sustainability in Construction

  • The project used materials that produce less carbon, based on energy used and the transportation process.
  • During construction, the team diverted 75% of its waste from landfill.
  • Minimized interior sources of pollution through the installation of materials with low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content. The project also used enhanced air filtration media, focusing on occupant thermal comfort and controllability.

Renewable Energy and Carbon Reduction

  • The cruise terminal will rely on 30,000 sq. ft. of on-site photovoltaic solar panels, enabling the port’s self-sufficient energy usage. Any remaining energy will be sent to the local power grid.
  • Carbon emissions are being offset through the purchase of carbon credits.

Regional and Global Environmental Benefits

  • Materials and construction selection contribute to the reduction of “heat island effect” in the Galveston area. This region experiences higher temperatures than outlying areas due to an over-stimulated energy grid.
  • Implement strategies to reduce exterior lighting pollution. This may help minimize negative effects to the night-time sky and the surrounding community.

Cruise Terminal Connectivity

  • By offering bicycle facilities and electric charging stations, the project offers alternative modes of transportation for guests and staff. This reduces transportation-related carbon emissions.
  • As the Port of Galveston increases its Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations, Royal Caribbean International’s terminal, T10, will supply infrastructure for the future installation of eight EV charging stations within its parking lot.

In addition, the Galveston cruise terminal marks the company’s fourth LEED certified facility and its first Gold certified. The previous projects include Terminal A at Port Miami; the Springfield, Oregon campus; and the Innovation Lab at Royal Caribbean Group’s corporate headquarters in Miami.

The $125 million, 161,334 sq. ft. Galveston Cruise Terminal significantly expands the company’s presence in the port, increasing the cruise line’s ability to accommodate up to 630,000 guests per year. The opening of the terminal marks the first time Galveston welcomes Royal Caribbean International’s signature Oasis Class, the world’s largest cruise ships, with the arrival of Allure of the Seas and the first time the company is bringing its frictionless arrival and departure process to Texas.

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