Laboratory Design Newsletter 2012 Selected Abstract

NZ4 Global Alliance Design Approach: Stimulus Concepts Featuring Net Zero Energy, Water, Food, Waste, and Biofuels Facilities with Magnet Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Education (STEM), and Incubators/Accelerators

Bruce Haxton, Architect
Tom Kubala, The Kubala Washatko Architects
John Andary, The Integral Group, Inc.
Jason Loiselle, Sherwood Design Engineers, Inc.
Fred Meade, Michael Perciali, Bry Sarte, Tamra Fakhoorian, and Alan Lawson


The concept was to integrate a sustainable approach; a LEED© project approach; a net zero energy, water, food, waste, and biofuels approach; a closed loop design approach; and a regenerative design approach all together. The result of the integration is a high-quality, low-energy, self-sustaining community that has all of the functions it needs to support itself.

The initial investigation centers around collecting and analyzing the site and building data, so as to rationally approach the design process as a "closed-loop design" that is by its nature self-sustaining. Once the annual water, nutrient, and energy balance is analyzed, the process begins to design the site and buildings to be self-sustaining. Vehicular, pedestrian, and service functions are analyzed to reduce interference.

A programming and program analysis phase is usually developed around interactive sessions with the entire building design, user, and maintenance staff. Each person contributes special expertise to the project. The building—including all of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems—is designed as an integrated design concept, specifically designed for the project, site, climate, and culture. The buildings are arranged in an east-west configuration to maximize daylighting and minimize heat gain.

The energy budgets and costs budgets are continually refined and analyzed, to make sure that the solution is the most cost-effective and energy-saving solution for the dollars expended. Thermal energy modeling is also analyzed to preclude thermal bridging, which would affect the thermal exterior wall performance. In general the costs of the lighting systems and mechanical systems are reduced because of the savings in those systems; the costs are then applied to a higher-performance exterior enclosure system. Window energy savings strategies include louvers to bounce the natural daylight deeper into the building. Other daylighting strategies involve high-performance glazing and special window shading devices.

The building design is one set of analysis and decision-making. Other issues revolve around water catchment systems and waste to algae to biofuels systems. The water catchment analysis starts early in the design process but continues into the design of the building, with the selection of low-flow water fixtures and other water-saving strategies. The waste water strategies are very climate-dependent when dealing with waste to algae to biofuels. Below is the schematic diagram of the waste to algae to biofuels process, including the final potable water recycled for crop irrigation and the byproducts from the aquatic species used for non-petroleum-based fertilizer.

Once the site, buildings, and waste to aquatic species to biofuels are complete, the question is how to use this in the world to solve current problems. These facilities can be used in developed countries to act as "Technology Cluster Hubs" to enhance regional growth, reduce unemployment, and spur on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries and education.

Photo 1

Figure 1. This site plan represents an approximately 1,100-acre Live, Work, Play, and Educate Science Park. This is a new type of “life style science park” that includes a magnet university/village center, eight technology incubators, and sixty science park sites. All facilities are anticipated to be net zero.

Photo 2

Figure 2. Net Zero Energy Lifestyle Science Park, including village center/magnet university with net zero energy, water, food, waste, and biofuels facilities.