Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Green Tour


Opened in 2009, the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences building was the first URI building to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold designation.

This is an impressive accomplishment for a research and teaching laboratory building, and the installed energy efficiency measures save an estimated $135,000 in utility costs each year. The Forest Stewardship Council certified all the wood used in construction, it comprises approximately one-third of previously recycled materials, and URI recycled 79% of construction waste.

Building Highlights (LEED Gold)

  • One-third of construction materials previously recycled
  • Green roof
  • URI recycled 79% of construction waste
  • Rain garden
  • 51% reduction in potable water use
  • 100% of wood used certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
  • Houses faculty offices, four-story atrium, teaching laboratories, a two-story 300-seat auditorium, 100-seat classroom, and DNA sequencing facilities



Rain Garden

The rain garden comprises a system of alternating bio-swales (or bio-retention areas) and grass channels designed to manage stormwater actively by promoting infiltration, recharging groundwater, and removing stormwater pollutants. An added benefit is the creating of wildlife habitats. (Photo courtesy of CRJA-IBI Group)


Natural Ventilation

The glass atrium does more than create a dynamic entry and improve circulation. Operable windows at all levels take advantage of the natural “smokestack effect”’ to draw hot air out of the top of the atrium and cool air from the bottom. A green roof further shields the atrium from the extremes of heat and cold.

Green Roof

A living roof, or green roof, absorbs rainwater, reduces runoff, provides insulation, and keeps the building cool in the summer. But you can’t spread dirt and seed, since normal soil is too dense and lacks the water retention needed to sustain the plants. This high tech green roof uses an engineering soil comprising granulated clay and added nutrients and handpicked plant species to ensure it remains green.


Natural Light

Despite encompassing 140,000 square feet, 92% of regularly occupied spaces have access to exterior views and natural light. This is essential to providing the best environment for spending long hours in the lab. Occupant comfort is further promoted with lighting controls for 97% and thermal controls for 56% of the individual workstations.