Harvard winner of the I2SL Sustainable Laboratory Awards

01 November, 2023

We are excited to announce that Harvard University Science and Engineering Complex [SEC]] has won the Overall Lab Buildings and Projects Award in the I2SL Sustainable Laboratory Awards Program! Outstanding projects, programs, and individuals are honored, that demonstrate innovative and exemplary achievements in sustainability, energy efficiency, decarbonization and waste reduction.

The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) writes on its site:

„Completed in 2021, Harvard’s new Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), supported by van Zelm Heywood & Shadford, Inc., is a 544,400-GSF, nine-story facility that has achieved sustainability goals on a large scale. The complex is LEED Platinum certified and is considered the first lab building to be certified by the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Building Challenge in the Materials, Beauty and Equity performance areas. The complexincorporated myriad efficient and sustainable features, from energy-efficient building design and careful site planning to water reuse and stormwater management.

The complex’s unique custom-designed façade shading optimizes solar heat gain, reducing heat gain during cooling periods and increasing it during heating periods. Additionally, triple-glazed windows and skylighting dramatically decreases the need for electrical lighting within the building. To enhance indoor environmental quality, 54 percent of regularly occupied areas are daylit, and 50 percent of that area has access to operable windows. Thanks to these and other energy-efficient measures, the complex has an EUI of 83.31 kBTU/SF/year.

The complex also has made significant water reuse and stormwater management efforts with green roofs, biorention basins, and constructed wetlands. These measures ensure all stormwater falling on the site is collected, treated, and stored for reuse. Condensate from cooling coils is also collected and discharged into storage tanks. Thanks to these water reuse efforts, 71 percent of water used in the complex’s labs and 73 percent of toilet flushing water comes from collected rainwater.

The complex is not only a sustainable accomplishment for Harvard, but also extends to the surrounding communities. Due to years of industrial and manufacturing operations, the land which the complex was built on was a brownfield, polluted by lead, cadmium, petroleum hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. During the construction process, the team removed and properly disposed of over 150,000 tons of soil and replaced it with a regenerative landscape. Outdoor green spaces are now open to the public and connect the university to the communities around it.“

Photo: Brad Feinknopf