New England Lab News

04/05/12 - Harvard Sherman Fairchild Project Awarded LEED Platinum Certification

The two-year lab furniture and systems renovation of Harvard’s Sherman Fairchild Building may have seemed inconsequential to the casual observer because the exterior barely changed. However, the interior has been transformed into one of the University’s greenest and most efficient laboratory spaces.

The project, the first to utilize Harvard’s 2009 Green Building Standards to guide project development, recently received the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ (FAS) first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Commercial Interiors Platinum Certification — the highest rating possible — from the U.S. Green Building Council.

From the beginning of the design process, the project team was committed to meeting clearly defined sustainability goals. The team also worked extensively with researchers and building operations staff to ensure that the finished space would maximize energy efficiency and resource conservation while meeting their cutting-edge research needs.

The new energy efficiency measures include an internal heat shift chiller to capture heat from high-load zones and redistribute it to other parts of the building, occupancy sensors on fume hoods so they close automatically when not in use, heat recovery from zebrafish tank exhaust air, and windows to provide natural ventilation in nonlab spaces. Designers also targeted electricity use by reducing overhead lighting and including LED task lighting at laboratory benches. "By reducing air flow change rates during unoccupied periods with the use of occupancy sensors, the building is estimated to consume 11 percent less electricity and 51 percent less steam annually."

Extensive water conservation measures include the use of re-captured “gray” water for toilet flushing, and low-flow fixtures that are projected to reduce water use 42 percent below the maximum required by building codes.

A LEED case study of the Sherman Fairchild project is posted on the Harvard Green Building Resource website.

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