University of Oregon Receives First LEED Platinum Certification

EUGENE, Ore. — The USGBC awarded the University of Oregon’s (UO) Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building LEED Platinum Certification. The building, which was completed in July 2013, is one of the only laboratory buildings in the U.S to receive such a certification.

Designed by HDR Architecture and THA Architecture, both of which have offices in Portland, the $51 million building is an interdisciplinary research hub. Though the majority of the building is dedicated to cognitive neurosciences, systems neurosciences and genetics research, the building also houses the Support Network for Research and Innovation in Solar Energy and the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry. The 103,000-square-foot science building was constructed by Lease Crutcher Lewis, which also holds offices in Portland, and is the first to gain LEED Platinum certification on the UO campus.

"Science buildings present numerous sustainable design challenges that are difficult to solve, mainly because of their complex equipment and stringent ventilation requirements," said Regina Filipowicz, senior laboratory planner with HDR Architecture, in a statement. "But due to the University of Oregon’s commitment to environmental responsibility, our integrated team was able to develop some truly innovative sustainable strategies — some that I’ve never before seen in my 26 years as a planner."

One remarkably innovative method is the building’s use of reverse osmosis–treated water from a zebra fish research facility. The water is used to flush urinals and toilets. All storm water is also treated on site and solar hot water panels heat all domestic water.

The building uses approximately 62 percent less energy than a building of its likeness. Energy conservation efforts include natural ventilation in spaces other than labs, solar shading, daylighting, night flush cooling variable flow chemical fume hoods with automatic closing sashes and heat is recovered from a utility tunnel below the building to serve laboratory re-heat requirements. Building materials were largely local, and bamboo was used as a finish in the atrium and laboratory spaces.

"The daylight in a building with such a deep footprint is especially impressive," said Laurie Canup, project manager with THA Architecture, in a statement. "We actually worked with University of Oregon’s lighting laboratory to ensure that the size and placement of the skylight in the atrium would provide optimal daylight levels while controlling glare. The natural daylight allows the lights to be turned off during the day and the reduction in lighting power density delivers significant energy savings, not to mention that ample windows create views which support a dynamic working environment."

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