The University of Colorado's biotechnology building has earned the highest possible rating for green construction, a feat that university officials are celebrating because of the difficulties in designing an eco-friendly research hub that also has complex safety requirements.
The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology building, a 336,800-square-foot research and teaching complex, debuted last spring on the university's East Campus. CU officials announced Monday that it has been designated with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
"When you take the size of the building and the complexity of the research equipment, it was a pretty tall order," said Moe
Campus planners grouped the labs with similar functions near each other so they could share common lab equipment and maximize energy use. The building also has solar panels to help meet its energy needs. Other green features include energy-efficient freezer compressors and lab fume hoods, evaporative cooling and low-flow plumbing.
The building also has large windows to take advantage of natural daylight.
"That was a huge focus," Tabrizi said. "The folks who are doing research are spending extended hours in that building and we're able to reduce artificial lighting while giving them a sense of connection to the outside."
Overall, the building is 30 percent more energy and water efficient when compared to other buildings of similar size and function, according to CU.
It was important for CU to incorporate high-rated green features in the biotechnology building because research labs are five to seven times more energy intensive than other areas on campus, such as classrooms or offices, Tabrizi said. The features in the biotechnology building will help CU reduce its carbon footprint and save on energy bills.
The biotechnology building, located on Colorado Avenue and Foothills Parkway, houses more than 60 faculty and 500 researchers who are examining everything from cancer treatment to developing new biofuels.
The building is consistent with the Tuscan Vernacular, red-tiled roof architecture on the main campus.
"This project demonstrates that we can achieve a high-performing, technically complex facility that blends our Tuscan Vernacular -- or rural Italian -- style with the demands of cutting-edge, 21st century world-class research," said Paul Leef, campus architect, in a statement.
The building's designers took recommendations from Labs21, which is a program that aims to improve environmental performance of labs.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.