Centrally located on the University of Washington’s main Seattle campus, the new Phase I Molecular Engineering Building will provide approximately 90,000 GSF of laboratory space to spur advancements in molecular engineering research and attract world-class researchers. Currently under construction, the facility provides an interdisciplinary research lab environment bringing together students and researchers in bioengineering, chemical engineering, nanotechnology, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science engineering, which are currently dispersed throughout campus. Core labs providing molecular and nanotechnology instrumentation for use by building users and other on campus are consolidated into the new facility to provide greater synergy amongst engineering disciplines and enhance research capabilities.
Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification at a minimum, key sustainable design features include being the first laboratory building on campus with a naturally ventilated office component, optimized laboratory ventilation, use of highly energy efficient chilled beams, and a green roof.
Laboratories, because of their unique programmatic requirements, don’t have a standard baseline defined by CBECS and TargetFinder. Per architecture 2030 equivalency guidelines, we estimate that the 2030 Challenge requires a 60% reduction from CBECS, equivalent to a 44% reduction from ASHRAE 2004. As explained in the energy section, this project only achieved a 9% reduction from ASHRAE, primarily because of enormous process and ventilation loads required for this building type. However, the design team achieved a 19% reduction in energy used for ventilation, conditioning and non-process mechanical systems. And naturally ventilated offices are modeled to reduce the energy required for cooling of the office portion of the building by 98% (70,000 kWh annually). While the reduction associated with natural ventilation represents a small percentage of the building’s overall energy use, this unusual and technically challenging strategy has the potential to set the standard for office buildings, future campus developments and similar research facilities nationally.