The U.S government has embraced green building and partnered with Perkins+Will to design their new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) building in Atlanta, Georgia. By incorporating a variety of sustainable building techniques, the developers have managed to achieve LEED Gold status, making it the first ever high-performing government building to receive this prestigious award.
Sustainability Features of the CDC Division of Laboratory Sciences, Green Building 110
Directors of the CDC Division of Laboratory Sciences, Building 110 stated that the goal of the facility is to enhance their research efforts in a sustainable manner. With the help of Perkins+Will, the architecture firm that designed the green building, a new lab was designed that operates more smoothly and allows scientists to focus on finding new and improved solutions to major health challenges more easily and efficiently.
Perkins+Will claim that the design will significantly reduce the impact it has on the environment, and save tax dollars. Additionally, it is estimated that the design of the building offers an upfront saving of $87,000 and annual savings of in excess of $1 million. These savings are realized through the flexible design of the lab which allows for easy reconfiguration, as well as the energy-efficient design. Productivity gains are realized through the estimated effects of a healthy workplace and employee satisfaction, utilizing these leading sustainable design features:
- A state-of-the-art water conservation system collects rainwater and condensation from the heaving, ventilation and air conditioning systems, in cisterns to seep into the ground in order to irrigate the landscape.
- Constructed from renewable sources, the building utilizes bamboo and builders managed to recycle in excess of half the construction waste.
- Energy is preserved through innovative lighting technology known as solar harvesting, sensors detect whether a room is occupied and whether sunlight is sufficient, triggering the lights to shut off. Architects paid extra attention to the lab areas, since they especially require adequate sunlight, as they are frequently occupied. While the positioning of the building made it difficult, the sixteen-foot ceilings enable sunlight to extend deep into the laboratory rooms. A sunshade structure, known as a brise-soleil system, absorbs light, which it reflects throughout the building while simultaneously blocking solar heat. As a result, the building saves approximately $175, 000 in energy costs yearly.
The CDC Division of Laboratory Sciences, Building 110 produced only a tenth of the waste that a typical home does.
The LEED rating system, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council has become the benchmark for design, construction, operation and maintenance of sustainable design and green buildings. Levels of the LEED certification are determined by means of measuring the performance of a building against five key areas of environmental and human health, including:
- sustainable development of a site,
- water savings,
- energy efficiency,
- material selection,
- and indoor environmental quality.
In addition to the practical elements of sustainability, which includes the use of natural daylight and better air quality, the sustainable building design lends itself to a more sophisticated design, which leads to operational efficiency. All of these factors combine to deliver not just a sustainable green building but also a superior research environment.