UT-ORNL joint institute state's top rated 'green' building

04/21/05

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 21, 2005 -- The state of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory together are setting a new standard for environmental responsibility and energy efficiency for Tennessee public buildings.

The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences facility at ORNL this spring will achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design status by the U.S. Green Building Council. The distinction is a national consensus standard for design and construction of "green" buildings.

The state funded the 52,000 sq. ft., $10 million facility to house an advanced computing, education and research collaborative between ORNL and the University of Tennessee. The building also houses Oak Ridge Center for Advance Studies, a policy center for the nation's leaders in energy, science, and technology.

Dedicated last May, the building is expected to use at least 25% less energy than a comparable facility. Energy saving measures implemented include: reflective roof and additional roof insulation, high-performance window glazing, additional wall insulation, higher-efficiency lighting, energy efficient motors, high-efficiency chillers, and special units designed to minimize fan power.

The joint institute is the first of three planned LEED buildings to be funded by the state. The UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at UT also will aim for LEED certification.

"Earth Day is an especially appropriate time to recognize this new milestone for energy conservation and environmental stewardship in our state facilities," Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said. "The LEED-certified UT-ORNL joint institutes can serve as models of energy efficiency for state-funded buildings in Tennessee."

The governor's FY 06 budget includes $8 million to build the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences. Pending approval by the General Assembly, construction is expected to begin in the fall.

ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth said "As the nation's largest energy laboratory, ORNL has a special responsibility to demonstrate how we can save energy efficiently.

"This new LEED-rated facility is the latest success story to result from a fruitful partnership between ORNL and the State of Tennessee." The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences is funded by the state of Tennessee on land deeded from the Department of Energy, an innovative approach that has been key to the success of the lab's $300 million modernization project, which also includes the Center for Computational Sciences, the Engineering Technology Facility and the Research Office Building.

These facilities, funded by private sources and also LEED-rated, comprise more than 370,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, including the nation's largest unclassified computing facility (40,000 square feet). The annual cost savings from reduced energy requirements attributed to the modernization is about $500,000. Environmental and energy efficiency features include:

  • Landscaping and roofing designed to reduce the buildings' contribution to the urban heat-island effect. The drought-tolerant landscaping will require no irrigation.
  • Materials selected for their recycled content, low emissions of volatile organic compounds, insulation value, durability, cost and aesthetics. Carbon dioxide monitors and special air filters ensure good indoor air quality.
  • Well insulated and airtight building envelopes. Efficient lights, occupancy sensors, Energy Star office equipment, and variable-frequency fan drives are among the strategies to keep energy use low.

LEED status is designated by the U.S. Green Building Council, a building industry coalition that promotes environmentally responsible technologies. LEED building projects are evaluated in six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources that incorporate as much local and recycled content as possible, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. For more information on LEED certification, go to: http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/Project/project_detail_step_1.asp?PROJECT_ID=827.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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