University of Maryland new research facility scoops top sustainability award
The Health Sciences Research Facility (HSRF) at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in Baltimore has been recognised for its sustainable design and construction after being awarded a gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The impressive 439,000 sq foot building is the largest building ever constructed in the university system of Maryland. It earns its green credentials thanks to the inclusion of many nifty features, including cistern water collection system, recycled content, green roof, indoor environmental quality, and energy recovery systems.
The facility also collects and stores rainwater to be used later for the rooftop cooling towers, cutting the amount of domestic water needed.
Not only is it efficient, but the building makes for a much nicer and ergonomic work environment than its older counterpart.
While windows were once a luxury, taking up the wall space that could be used for shelving and lab equipment, the new 10-storey wet lab tower and its five-storey dry lab tower allows natural light to pour into the workspace of over 400 personnel.
But it’s not all about the inside. The building also offers 23,621 sq feet of vegetated open space, planted with native flora that don’t require any additional watering, cutting water loss from ground upkeep completely.
A key feature of the outdoor space is the impressive green roof which uses vegetation, as well as reflective materials, to keep temperatures down and prevent the building from contributing to the residual heat common in built-up areas.
While refreshing the air in a laboratory environment is essential to faculty and students’ safety, the use of the new fume hoods and chilled beam technology has significantly reduced the number of air changes needed per hour in both occupied and unoccupied modes.
The details also make a huge difference in chipping away at energy saving. On a building housing so many people, something as simple as low-flow taps can make a huge difference. High-efficiency flush fixtures, natural ventilation and high-performance glazing on the exterior also helped.
All of these features are working to gain the HSRF its award-winning credentials. The building achieved a 22 percent energy cost reduction and a 32 percent water reduction.
The building officially opened its doors in October 2018 and quickly became a proud flagship of the university.