Caltech Jorgensen Lab achieves LEED Platinum

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17/01/2013 Written by: Julian Parsley & Jodi Christopher

BuroHappold is honored to have been involved in the recent renovation of the California Institute of Technology, Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory, designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. The Institute houses the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and the Resnick Institute, the goals of which are to foster transformational advances in energy, science and technology. The newly restored building achieved LEED Platinum and now stands on campus as an exemplar of energy efficiency and sustainability.

The original building, designed by Quincy Jones in 1971, was a three‐story, concrete computer laboratory in need of significant renovations before becoming the new home to the Institute. Primary renovations involved removing over‐sized sun shades, installing high‐performance doublepaned glass, introducing a new skylit atrium and transforming what were once offices into wet and dry research laboratories. The restoration resulted in improved availability of natural light into the building and views to the outside, as well as cutting‐edge energy efficient research space.

The new building is a demonstration of what can be achieved with a challenging program in an existing building. According to benchmark and modeled data, laboratories in California still utilize significant energy for heating with conventional systems and so our goal was a design that reduced the amount used by the Institute. The end result is a neutral dual duct HVAC system for all laboratories which, compared to the ASHRAE 90.1 2007 baseline, is projected to reduce energy consumption by a total of 37% and energy cost by 26%. BuroHappold provided MEP engineering, LEED and sustainability consulting, and lighting design, as well as Measurement and Verification (M&V) services for the project which enables us to monitor ongoing performance against modeled performance over the next 18 months.

The Institute was fully involved and interested in the scientific justifications behind BuroHappold's design decisions, and shared with ideas on new technologies to consider. They also adapted their existing revolving energy fund, which uses projected savings in energy to provide loans for energy efficiency upgrades, in this case funding the difference between a code minimum building and strategies implemented to save energy. This new state‐of‐the‐art facility truly embodies the mission of its occupants and provides an inspiring place to conduct research that will shape a more sustainable future.

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