Green Biotech Building Earns the Gold

When URI’s $54 million Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences opened last year, it was hailed as a state-of-the-art facility that would advance scientific research and serve as a hub for education, research, and job creation in the life sciences.

This year, the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization, named the URI facility a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold building.

The structure’s sustainable features include a ‘green’ roof that is partially covered in vegetation that filters pollutants and reduces heating and cooling needs; a rain garden and storm water treatment feature with a sophisticated drainage and detention system; daylight harvesting technologies that brighten rooms and warm the floors; and an energy efficient heating and cooling system. One hundred percent of the wood used in construction was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to have come from forests managed in a sustainable way. About a third of the materials used in the building had been previously recycled. Speaking of recycled, 79 percent of construction waste was recycled.

The energy efficiency measures installed in the building save about $135,000 per year in utility costs

“The award is the result of a determined team of design architects, building committee, capital planning and capital projects staff and many more that worked on the design and construction,” said Robert A. Weygand ’71, ’76, vice president for Administration and Finance. “It is very difficult for a research and teaching laboratory building to reach this status. Complicated ventilation systems can be very energy consuming. We were able to put in the most energy efficient system, and as a result we were able to construct a sustainable building.”