Life Science Laboratories I & II

Project Overview

LEED certification: LEED Gold
Completed: In Construction (phase I completed and being used)
Architect/Engineer: Wilson Architects; RDK Engineers
Project Manager: Jeff Quackenbush



Project Purpose

The Life Science Laboratories (LSL) building was developed to provide state-of-the-art research laboratory space for inter-disciplinary research clusters engaged in cutting edge study. Today's scientific research requires modern facilities with properly sized floor plates, adequate floor-to-floor heights, and energy-efficient building systems and building envelopes. Since the future course of scientific research cannot be predicted with exact certainty, it is critical that new facilities create large, flexible and adaptable systems capable of easily accommodating growth and changing paradigms.

Site planning for the LSL capitalizes on and seeks to engage with the beautiful natural setting at the western edge of Orchard Hill, while celebrating the work conducted inside.

The building is designed to link with adjacent buildings and with the pedestrian and infrastructure network in a way that creates civic space and enhances accessibility.

It contains flexible open research labs with equipment alcoves, enclosed support labs, shared platform labs and faculty offices, conference rooms, colloquia, and food service areas. The design plan accommodates the implementation of a future rooftop greenhouse.

Sustainability Features

Sun Shades and Fritted Glass: West façade exterior horizontal sun shades and fritted glass enhance daylight penetration into the open labs and help to control excessive glare.

High Albedo White Roof Membrane: A roof membrane with high SRI is installed to reduce the potential for the heat island effect by reflecting most of the sun light.

Heat Recovery Chiller Plant: The LSL heat wheel preheats domestic and non-potable hot water as it reheats, and mitigates space heating loads. Simultaneously, it provides an elevated temperature chilled water source to supply the laboratory fan coils, without creating condensation on the coils. The system’s energy output is greater than 5 times the energy input at design conditions because it utilizes the energy transfer inherent to the refrigeration process.

Indoor Environmental Air Quality: A system capable of monitoring the levels of common air contaminants and CO2 is installed in variable occupancy rooms, as well as in lab spaces. This allows for close monitoring of indoor air quality conditions and facilitates the opportunity for the system to respond to current conditions, while preventing it from “over ventilating” unoccupied spaces. In particular, this system may be used to reduce the air change rates for unoccupied laboratory spaces. Low-flow fume hoods are designed to operate safely at 70 rpm across their face. This allows for a 30% reduction in the quantity of air required to maintain building pressurization. Coupled with the laboratory’s fan coil system, this provides for even greater reductions in the total ventilated air required for building operation. Additionally, the fume hoods have velocity monitors to allow for monitoring of performance and diminished need for outside air intake and occupancy sensors.

Radiant Floor Heating: The perimeter spaces utilize a radiant floor heating system with energy supplied by the heat recovery chiller plant. This is an ideal fit, as these systems do not require high-temperature water. The system provides a greater degree of occupant comfort than alternative heating options, as well as an effective means of heat transfer. Radiant heating is also an efficient means for providing heating during unoccupied hours.

Lighting Design: The lighting design plan targeted watts per sq. ft. and aimed to implement a system that would decrease the minimum watts used to below the minimum specified by code, while still achieving desirable levels of light (measured in foot candles) in all areas. High efficiency lighting fixtures and ballasts were employed and careful coordination with the architecture of the building helped to maximize the effectiveness of each fixture. A centralized lighting control system, occupancy sensors and daylight dimming are also installed to allow variable control of lighting during occupied and non-occupied hours.

Hydrological Cycle: A water harvest system collects water from various sources, including ground water, overflow and rain water. The reclaimed water is utilized by the cooling tower, quench water and reverse osmosis systems, as well as for flushing plumbing fixtures throughout the building. Fan coils also use the constant temperature ground water to temper mechanical spaces. Storm water storage tanks are located at the west retaining wall to improve the fill rate, quantity and quality of collected water. Inside the building, ultra-low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce the project’s potable water usage.

Sub-Metering: The LSL has sub-metering installed to measure energy and resources. This allows personnel to monitor and track trends of the actual energy consumption and resource use. This data informs the operations and facilities department to help them target areas of inefficiency; ensuring that the building operations are consistent with design parameters.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint: Bicycle racks, bike enclosures and changing facilities are installed to help promote reduced dependence on single-occupancy motorized vehicle travel.

Education: An integrated educational outreach program is in the initial phases for the new lab building. Components of the program include an interactive dashboard to display design and construction features and energy data, inclusion in a larger campus-wide sustainability tour, and a comprehensive signage system highlighting key sustainability building features for the public.

Architect's Model of the Life Science Laboratories 1 and 2
Computer Model of Exterior Front of Life Science Laboratories I and II