UW’s Nanoengineering & Sciences Building Set to Earn LEED Silver

SEATTLE — A new Nanoengineering and Sciences Building (NanoES) was completed at the University of Washington (UW) last summer, and is designed to LEED Silver for its many green and sustainable features. The new facility is the second phase of a 168,000-square-foot complex at the center of the UW campus in Seattle.

NanoES is specifically equipped for the performance of organic, inorganic and biomolecular synthesis, and will accommodate students and faculty in a variety of nanoengineering disciplines, including energy, materials science, computation and medicine. NanoES will also house research in nanotechnology fields such as augmented humanity, integrated photonics and scalable nanomanufacturing, which aims to develop low-cost, high-volume manufacturing processes.

The five-story, 78,000-square-foot building had a budget of $87.8 million. Seattle-based ZGF Architects completed the architecture and programming on the project, with Hoffman Construction Company, headquartered in Portland, Ore., serving as the general contractor. NanoES is supported by funds from the College of Engineering and the National Science Foundation as well as capital investments from investors and industry partners.

A new Nanoengineering and Sciences Building was completed at the University of Washington last summer and was designed to achieve LEED Silver.

The new NanoES building is located in the science and engineering core of campus, and houses the UW Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems, just launched on Dec. 4, 2017. ZGF programmed and designed NanoES in conjunction with the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Buildings (MolES), which was Phase I of the complex and was completed in 2012.

“The completion of the Nanoengineering and Sciences Building marks the fulfillment of a nearly 10-year effort to design and construct the next generation of science facilities for this important university initiative,” said Steve Tatge, architect, LEED AP and executive director of Major Capital Projects, Capital Planning and Development at UW. “The two-phase complex gives the university the flexible, densely occupied, instrument-rich and interdisciplinary space, which will jumpstart the research and discovery the University of Washington is known for.”

Both buildings were designed to fit within the historic context of the area while also reflecting the cutting-edge nature of the research housed within them, with the exterior of the entire complex being composed entirely of limestone, aluminum and a glass curtain wall.

In addition, the two buildings help to form and enhance outdoor public space and extend pedestrian pathways, aiding in wayfinding and connections to other parts of the campus and the surrounding community. Additionally, its proximity to other science and engineering buildings allows for cross-departmental collaboration as well as joint research endeavors.

The 90,000-square-foot MolES Phase I building provides space to support a wide range of wet and dry laboratory uses, including fume hood-intensive chemistry, open plan offices for researchers, faculty offices, common and support space. The MolES facility is LEED Gold certified.

As an excellent complement to MolES, floors
two through four of NanoES contain programmed research laboratory spaces. The first floor has two classrooms designed for collaboration as well as a shared, informal learning center. Each of the other levels include a highly flexible technology-equipped laboratory, office and meeting spaces, and were designed with an open layout to encourage collaboration.

Designers incorporated “plug and play” capabilities into these spaces to maximize the technological adaptability of each room, and the research labs were designed so that as the equipment, research and faculty change over time, the spaces can support and morph as needed. The lab benches allow for equipment to be moved in and out of lab spaces easily.

“NanoES fulfills the vision for the complex, allowing for significant new research space in the campus core,” said Allyn Stellmacher, design partner, ZGF Architects. “The addition also brings the student-activation component to the ground floor with active learning environments and breakout spaces. With its central location, NanoES connects to a courtyard to the south and a large arterial, extending its reach to other parts of campus.”

Natural daylight in the laboratory spaces is just one of the facility’s many sustainable features.
Photo Credit (all): Aaron Leitz Photography

Designed to LEED Silver standards, the design of NanoES has many impressive sustainable features that will easily earn this status. The building incorporates the same high-performance sustainability strategies that were applied in the MolES building — the first naturally ventilated laboratory on campus.

NanoES incorporates rain gardens, with stormwater runoff being directed to the roof gardens, reducing runoff to additional drainage systems. Green roofs have been planted with vegetation to attract native bees and support on-site water conservation efforts.

In addition, the design team worked closely with UW to re-examine the number of air changes required to provide high air quality, and air change rates were adjusted from approximately 10 to six per hour in main laboratory spaces. Chilled beams were selected for use in non-air-driven spaces such as labs containing ultra-sensitive electron microscopes and large pieces of research equipment in the building’s basement.

Another unique sustainable feature is the project’s use of phase-change materials (PCM) — a gel that becomes warm and liquid during the day and solidifies at night. Encapsulated in walls and ceiling panels of the naturally ventilated spaces, the gel reduces temperature as it changes material states. PCM was incorporated into the design of NanoES, which provided significant savings in the design of the mechanical systems as well as cost savings to UW and increased comfort to the building occupants.

NanoES has mainly southern and northern exposures, and as such, radiant flooring was used for heating and cooling. In addition, chilled sails are used in the ceilings along the south wall of the office spaces. The units are ceiling mounted and flush to the ceiling plane. Radiating panels are supplied with chilled water for cooling.

The strong partnership between UW and the design team, as well as a commitment to sustainability, brings MolES and NanoES together to create one high-performance complex that will foster a collaborative research environment for years to come, according to Tatge.

Check out the entire article in the May/June issue of School Construction News.

Rachel Leber

Rachel Leber is a freelance writer at Emlen Media. She can be reached directly at rachel@emlenmedia.com.

rachel-leber has 48 posts and counting.See all posts by rachel-leber