Montclair State University’s first research facility receives LEED Gold Certification

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Designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative, the Center for Environmental & Life Sciences (CELS), a 100,000-SF building at Montclair State University has received LEED™ Gold Certification.

Laboratory buildings have historically been enormous energy users. To reduce this concern, this project uses a multi-mode mechanical system, separating classroom, lecture halls and general space conditioning with chilled beams coupled with heat recovery enthalpy wheels. The laboratories utilize Variable Air Volume (VAV) terminal units and VAV fume hoods with glycol loop heat recovery that avoids any chance of cross contamination. The lighting for the project incorporates task lighting, scene controllers and occupancy sensors for classrooms, conference rooms and open plan workstations as another strategy for saving energy and to give occupants better control. The occupancy sensors can also detect CO2 levels and communicate with the mechanical system to bring in more fresh air.

Other sustainable features incorporated include:

  • 40 percent water use reduction by utilizing low flow toilets, urinals, and faucets.
  • 78 percent of the construction waste was diverted from a landfill.
  • 37 percent of materials in the building were made from recycled materials.
  • 25 percent of the materials were sourced within 500 miles of the project site.
  • 57 percent of the wood used in the project was derived from sustainable sourced forests, meeting Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) requirements.
  • Utilizing low emitting materials for the paints, adhesives, carpets, and composite woods help to remove that toxic “new car smell” often associated with new buildings.

One of the building’s most scenic features is the “green” roof above the second floor that is used as a study site and retreat. Green roofs are encouraged by LEED as an approach to cool the building and to better retain stormwater. The green roof helps extend the life of the roofing membrane, provide energy savings, and creates valuable public green space. It also provides students with a unique place to conduct studies and experiments. The advantage of the green roof includes extending the green space of the campus, reducing heat transfer through the roof, improving energy efficiency, limiting rainwater surges, serving as an outdoor classroom, and providing an entertainment venue.

The building is also being used as a teaching tool, with the building included in the development of a scrolling power point that can be displayed online, and used as the basis of tour information and brochures. LCD displays are provided in the building describing the green features of the project and their environmental benefits. The University maintains a website on sustainability where general, campus, and project specific information can be posted for students, staff and the public.

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