Argonne facilities achieve green building designations

By Devin Hodge, Sustainability Program Manager

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently received green building designations for two of its facilities. The Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) recently obtained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification and Building 438, a laboratory and office module, became the first existing building on Argonne’s site to be upgraded to meet High Performance Sustainable Building (HPSB) requirements. These facilities have joined the Sub-Angstrom Microscopy and Microanalysis laboratory and Building 46 Shipping and Receiving to become part of Argonne’s green building inventory.

Constructed in 2007, CNM was designed and built to meet LEED standards. The building uses water efficient fixtures, resulting in 32.9 percent less water usage, and it has energy savings of 27.5 percent, partly as a result of waste heat recovery and use — heat that is generated by scientific equipment is reused to heat the CNM facility. The building uses natural lighting and local/regional recycled content materials, and it has environmentally-friendly features such as native landscaping and advanced storm water management, using natural on-site retention and infiltration. In support of green commuting habits, the facility offers preferred parking for carpool and high-efficiency vehicles. Bicycle storage and changing rooms are also available for bicycle commuters.

Principle Facilities Specialist Ron Tollner said, “LEED certification is a great achievement and something that takes a team of multi-discipline individuals to reach.” The certification project’s lead Argonne Architect George Norek added, “While we are proud of the green buildings improvements Argonne has made, we’re also looking forward to expanding upon those successes over the next several years with green retrofits of existing buildings and the construction of new LEED certified buildings. The new Energy Sciences Building, scheduled for completion in 2013, is being built to meet LEED Gold standards or higher.” Tollner and Norek played key roles in gaining LEED certification for CNM, gathering documentation of the building’s sustainable specifications that support LEED standards.

Ron Tollner and George Norek in front of the Center for Nanoscale Materials building.

Building 438’s high performance modifications include upgrades to lighting systems and plumbing fixtures, and the inclusion of a heat recovery system. T-12 fluorescent lighting was replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures that work with occupancy sensors. This upgrade provides a 60 percent reduction in lighting energy consumption, saving 77,107 kWh of energy and $4,050 per year. It has also increased the work surface light intensity and color rendering index, making work spaces clearer and less visually straining. Restroom fixtures were replaced with high-efficiency sinks and urinals, reducing water consumption by 49,150 gallons — an annual savings of $130. Perhaps the most innovative improvement is the use of waste heat generated by the Advanced Photon Source’s scientific tools and instruments to pre-heat outdoor ventilation air, resulting in savings of approximately 125 million Btu of energy and a savings of $575 per year.

The green building certification of these facilities is part of the GreenLab Initiative, Argonne’s Sustainability Program, as an effort to identify and implement energy and water conservation measures, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Argonne is working to meet U.S. Department of Energy green building goals, requiring that 15 percent of buildings greater than 5,000 square feet meet either LEED standards or HPSB guiding principles by 2015.

From left to right, team members who worked on the CNM LEED certification project: Phil Rash, Ron Tollner, Marvin Kirshenbaum, Amanda Petford Long, George Norek.

Posted March 19, 2012