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PNNL research facilities earn gold

LEED recognizes green laboratory buildings

April 21, 2010 Share This!

  • The Biological Sciences Facility and the Computational Sciences Facility were dedicated in the fall of 2009. The new facilities will enable discoveries in biological, computational and subsurface science and developments in bioenergy, carbon sequestration and homeland security. The facilities have received gold certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building program.

  • The Biological Sciences Facility and the Computational Sciences Facility were dedicated in the fall of 2009. The new facilities will enable discoveries in biological, computational and subsurface science and developments in bioenergy, carbon sequestration and homeland security. The facilities have received gold certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building program.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – Reducing energy and water use by more than 30 percent and keeping 78 percent of construction waste from landfills helped earn two Pacific Northwest National Laboratory research facilities gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

The Biological Sciences Facility and the Computational Sciences Facility at the Department of Energy's PNNL collectively received gold status from LEED. Gold is the second-highest rating in the green building program. The two research facilities - which are joined by a glass-encased commons area - were dedicated in October 2009 at PNNL's Richland campus. LEED is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Certification Institute.

Few of the roughly 49,000 LEED-certified building projects worldwide are research laboratories. And even fewer - just a handful - of those laboratories are certified to the gold level.

"PNNL is thinking green," said PNNL architect Gary Watkins. "We're honored to be recognized by LEED and hope more laboratories will consider building their facilities with the environment in mind."

The gold LEED certification notes that the two buildings use 35 percent less energy than laboratories designed only to meet current building codes. The facilities use waste heat produced by computer servers in the Computation Sciences Facility to warm offices and labs. Low-flow and motion sensor-activated water fixtures also help reduce the buildings' water use by 30 percent.

And 78 percent of all the materials used in the facilities' construction were recycled or saved for future manufacturing products or processes. Green efforts continue at both facilities today with low-mercury lighting and the use of PNNL's lab-wide comprehensive recycling program and environmentally-friendly housekeeping practices.

About 300 PNNL employees work at the facilities, which cost about $77 million total to finance and build. The New York City-based Cowperwood Company privately financed and developed the buildings and is leasing them to Battelle, which operates PNNL for DOE. KMD Architects of Seattle headed the project's design efforts, D.E. Harvey Builders of Houston was the general contractor and Brightworks of Portland, Ore., was the LEED advisor.

Scientists at the Biological Sciences Facility focus on understanding how biological systems work and interact. Such knowledge could improve human health, help sequester carbon underground, create bioenergy and control environmental contaminants. Data-intensive and high-performance computing systems at the Computational Sciences Facility are helping PNNL researchers quickly and efficiently understand mountains of data. Some of this work is helping scientists understand climate change and more efficiently operate the electric power grid.

Tags: Energy, Awards and Honors, Operations, Green Energy, Facilities

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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