The EPA's newest facility, the New England Regional Laboratory (NERL) in North Chelmsford, Mass., is a testament to the agency's commitment to "walk the talk" in achieving a high level of environmental performance in all its daily operations. The $22.2-million, 69,000-sf building is anticipating the U.S. Building Council's LEED (TM) Gold rating and has received the 2001 Excellence in Construction Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.
The New England Regional Lab is an applied science facility used for monitoring environmental resources. The new facility allows NERL to conduct environmental analyses in an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly laboratory. The lab also is designated as the command center in the event of a New England regional emergency.
Home to more than 100 scientists and environmental professionals, the single-story, brick building is considered to be 35 percent more energy efficient than a typical laboratory. Daylight dimmers, occupancy sensors, skylights, and insulated windows are just some of the energy efficient systems put into place. Photovoltaic awnings shade exterior office windows and reduce glare and heat gain. The solar units also passively collect a small amount of energy to directly supplement the building's power. The primary energy supplier is Green Mountain Power of Vermont, chosen for its wind-powered electricity, which reduces greenhouse gases and provides other environmental benefits. Domed skylights, solar tubes, and tall interior windows create a flood of light in the administrative office spaces. Windows are tinted to keep heat out in the summer and inside in the winter, while still allowing in the maximum amount of light. Heating is provided by a collection of six modular gas-fired boilers, which can be activated on an as-needed bases, rather than using a traditional mega-boiler.
The 12-acre site includes a wetlands area that is resupplied from surface runoff. By using nearly 40 local deciduous and evergreen trees and plants that require little watering, are well suited to the climate, and resist pests, the need for irrigation and pesticides is reduced. Limited road access minimizes disturbances to other open spaces and habitats on the site. Siting of the building reduces cooling efforts in the summer, and maximizes snow and ice melt in the winter.
The NERL labs are dedicated to a variety of biological and chemical analyses that support both civil and criminal investigations. Labs customized for the intended user include one cleanroom containing a metallurgical lab completely constructed without the use of metals. A marine organism testing lab contains special environmental chambers for storing fish and micro-organisms. Other custom features include overhead utility service carriers handling power, data, gas nitrogen, deionized water, chilled water, and other utilities. Designed by the project team and custom-made by the lab casework manufacturer, the carriers were installed with an added longitudinal chase behind the cabinets for easy access to gas lines. The lab's HVAC system is designed for single-pass, 100 percent outside air.
The 11' x 26' lab module, based upon criteria established by the GSA for standard laboratory design, provides benches and fume hoods for two scientists. Moveable benches allow for changing equipment and maneuvering under the utility carrier. Windowed doors and transom windows above the doorways allow sunlight into the interior lab rooms. A service corridor acts as a central spine to the lab offering utility access and allowing for mechanical system maintenance and lab reconfiguration without disruption to the scientists. Administrative offices and employee services are separate from the labs.
The NERL contains a training center, conference rooms, and library. Conferences, workshops, meetings, and training for the EPA, state, industry, and environmental groups can be held in the building. Designated meeting spaces and conference rooms are located throughout the facility. Corridors with expanded window and sill space outside the labs provide multiple locations for scientists to spontaneously meet and collaborate. High-speed fiber optic, copper, and digital satellite connection ports are utilized throughout the facility.
Information for this profile provided by Erland Construction Inc.
|Building Owner:||Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)|
|Owner Contact:||Bob Beane, Facilities Manager, NERL|
|Building Location:||North Chelmsford, Mass. UNITED STATES|
|Project Type:||New Construction|
|Principal Building Function:||Environmental Testing Laboratory|
|Project Delivery Method:||Design/Build|
|Cost Per Sq. Ft:||$260|
|About These Cost Figures|
|People Density:||690 gsf/person|
|Building Services:||DI, N, Compressed Air, Vacuum, Process Cooling Water, Natural Gas, 60/90 Hardness Water|
|Office Size:||88 NSF|
|Power Req:||1,135,000 VA/40,000 nsf|
|Structure/Foundation:||Braced-frame steel with concrete spread footings|
|Lab Module:||11' x 26'|
|Casework Mat'l:||Steel Cabinetry and Countertops|
|Fume Hoods:||ADA and Polypropylene Hoods|
|Architect||Bernard Johnson Young|
|Commissioning Agent||Cosentini Associates|
|Consultant - Fire Protection||Systec Group Inc.|
|Consultant - LEED||Architectural Energy Corp.|
|Energy Conservation||R.G. Vanderweil Engineers|
|Landscape Architect||Carol R. Johnson & Associates|
|Supplier - Access System||Simplex Grinnel|
|Supplier - Air Handlers||Trane Company|
|Supplier - Boilers||Thermal Solutions|
|Supplier - Building Automation Controls||Siemens Building Technologies|
|Supplier - Casework||Kewaunee Scientific Corporation|
|Supplier - Chillers||Trane Company|
|Supplier - Cooling Tower||BAC|
|Supplier - Fans||Greenheck Fan Corporation|
|Supplier - Fire Protection||Simplex Grinnel|
|Supplier - Flooring||Universal Floors|
|Supplier - Fume Hoods||Kewaunee Scientific Corporation|
|Supplier - Polypropylene Hoods||NUAIRE Inc.|
|Supplier - Water Purification||Fluid Solutions, Inc.|
|Profile Created 04/11/2002|
|Last Updated 04/04/2006|
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