Federal Government’s High-Performance Lab Achieves LEED Gold

Oct. 9, 2007

Atlanta, GA - Perkins+Will, a global leader in sustainable architecture and design, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced the CDC Division of Laboratory Sciences, Building 110, as the first high-performance federal government laboratory to achieve LEED® Gold certification. With this certification, the facility makes history among federal buildings. The sustainable components of the building not only significantly reduce the impact on the environment but save a substantial amount of money, effectively lightening the burden on taxpayers.

The design of the building offers a conservative upfront savings of $847,000 and an annual savings estimated at more than $1 million dollars. The cost savings can be broken down as follows:

  • $847,000 upfront-due to flexible design of lab-interstitial floors that save storage space, multipurpose flexible office space, mobile casework and equipment zones. (The inclusion of interstitial floors eliminated the need to build an entire additional floor)
  • $400,000 annual-due to laboratory flexibility-lab is easily and quickly reconfigured
  • $175,000 annual-due to energy-efficient design
  • $500,000 annual-due to productivity gains-effects of a healthy workplace and employee satisfaction, conservatively estimated at 2.5 percent of worker salaries

"The goal of this building is to enhance our research capabilities while doing so in a sustainable way," says James Pirkle, M.D., Ph.D, deputy director for science, DLS, CDC. "Perkins+Will delivered the strategy and creative thought needed to achieve this objective. With so many sustainable elements incorporated, the lab as a whole operates more smoothly. It allows our scientists to focus on conquering major health challenges with ease and efficiency."

"The design of Building 110 significantly improves the work environment for CDC," notes Manuel Cadrecha, design director, Perkins+Will. "We have blended practical elements of sustainability such as better air quality and use of natural daylight with sophisticated, quality design. This mix creates an operationally effective laboratory and a superior research environment."

Sustainable design elements of Building 110 range from energy efficiency to sustainable land use. High-performance glazing and exterior sunshades maximize daylight contributions and minimize electrical lighting demands within the building. Daylighting and occupancy sensors are provided in all office and lab spaces to conserve energy. The building boasts 23.7 percent reduction in energy use over similar conventional buildings. 

"We have proven that labs can conserve energy," explains James Myrick, Ph.D., research chemist, CDC. "Building 110 will save approximately $175,000 per year in energy costs alone over a non-LEED building. That's savings for taxpayers."

The magnitude and complexity of CDC Building 110 made it even more difficult to attain such a high level of LEED certification. It is the largest and most complex federal laboratory to receive LEED Gold in the United States. The only other federally- owned laboratory to receive a higher rating is the smaller, less complex National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, which received a Platinum accreditation. 

 "This project was critical in the implementation of the laboratory portion of CDC's Chamblee Campus Master Plan," says George Chandler, director of CDC's buildings and facilities office. "Building 110 allowed CDC to replace several old, substandard, energy inefficient lab buildings dating from the 1940s through the 1970s. These old buildings have since been demolished, making way for future laboratory projects at the Chamblee Campus in accordance with CDC's highest and best use policy, while retaining substantial campus greenspace and conserving environmentally sensitive areas."

Chandler adds, "The CDC team of architects and contracting officers, including Angela Wagner, Tanya Bertsch, Jerry Stephenson and Mark Federer, who allowed the project to be so successful for our internal clients, have delivered several other important lab and lab support projects at Chamblee. Building 110 is certainly the jewel in the Chamblee Master Plan crown."

Additional Sustainable Components:

  • The design also includes smart stormwater management, directing rainfall to gardens to reduce the amount of rainfall leaving the site by more than 25 percent.
  • The site's landscape design is comprised of primarily native and adapted plantings which will not require extensive irrigation. Equipment condensate is captured in underground containers to provide 100 percent of site irrigation needs, eliminating the need for externally-supplied irrigation water.
  • Indoor air quality control is managed through separate Air Handling Units for laboratories and offices. Through zoning lab and office uses, the system is tailored to best fit the needs of occupants. These systems reduce operational costs by at least 5 percent to 10 percent.
  • More than 50 percent of the site was previously impervious development for use by the military, and this project restored open space and habitat to the site and campus.  The restored habitat also reduces the urban heat island and ground-level ozone and helps offset CO2 emissions.
  • Local and recyclable materials further minimize the negative impact on the planet. More than 46 percent of materials were sourced regionally. Renewable materials such as bamboo were used to help preserve and protect natural resources. A total of 21.7 percent of all materials and products used on the project were recycled content. And finally, more than 56 percent of construction waste was recycled, including metals, gypsum, fibers and concrete/paving.

About the LEED Green Building Rating SystemTM
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating Systems have become the nationally-accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. The U.S. Green Building Council certification levels are determined by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development; water savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; and indoor environmental quality. For more information, go to www.usgbc.org.

About Perkins+Will
Established in 1935, Perkins+Will (www.perkinswill.com) is an integrated design firm serving clients from offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Research Triangle Park, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Vancouver, Victoria, and Washington, D.C. With the highest number of LEED® Accredited Professionals of any design firm in the world, Perkins+Will is recognized as the preeminent sustainable design firm in the country. The firm practices architecture, interior design, branded environments and planning + strategies with clients in corporate + commercial + civic, healthcare, higher education, K-12 education, and science + technology markets.  Perkins+Will routinely ranks among the world's top design firms and has received hundreds of awards, including the prestigious American Institute of Architects' "Firm of the Year Award."

For additional information, contact Ann Warren: [email protected].

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