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How LEED® Affects Laboratory Design in the University Setting

Greg Burrows and Couper Gardiner, BHDP Architecture

We utilize our project experience on Wright State Biological Sciences III to illustrate LEED principles and approaches. This $14.4 million project is located in Dayton, Ohio, and the project size is 45,373 sq. ft. The project team is BHDP Architecture (Architect), Heapy Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection), THP Limited Inc. (Structural), and RFD (Lab Planning). The completion date will be during the Summer 2007.

The new Biological Sciences III building is the first phase in a series of comprehensive science lab renovations on Wright State's main campus. The project will house interdisciplinary biomedical and environmental research programs focused on human health. Initial occupants are investigators in the College of Science and Mathematics, and programs matrixed with the School of Medicine; the Center for Genomic Research; the Wright Brothers Institute; and the following departments: Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology. It is designed as a curtain wall building to maximize daylight. Brick volumes interrupt the curtain wall anchoring the structure and creating a visual relationship with the existing campus vernacular. Sunshading devices manage solar gain while providing interest to the façade. This project is an effective illustration of how to ensure LEED principles while adhering to a high aesthetic quality.

Labs21 Connection:

The project is designed for LEED Silver level certification and incorporates principles of Labs21.

As we have learned more about both LEED and Labs21, we have found that they compliment each other and are not mutually exclusive. We were able to use guiding principles/goals of the Labs21 program to focus on improving the energy efficiency and environmental performance of a new research lab, examining the entire facility from a "whole building" perspective. The LEED checklist was used as a guideline for objectives to target. This also complemented the University's overall campus vision/strategy which includes a responsible eco-community.

Involve all stakeholders early to support LEED process/value along with Labs21 principles. An early ecocharette prior to project start-up was attended by a diverse group of stakeholders at Wright State University (i.e., planners, end users, and maintenance personnel), Labs21 advisor Dr. Paul Mathew, BHDP Architecture, and Heapy Engineering.

A collaborative process will yield the best facility for everyone. The ecocharette initiated an integrative design process.

  • Process Startup
    • Eliciting input from all stakeholders
    • Developing trust and enthusiasm by informing and challenging each other
    • Sustaining momentum
  • Process Completion
    • Transformed personal interests into what was best for everyone
    • Collaboration toward common goals
    • Coping with disappointment and concrete planning

Perform life cycle analysis and building energy modeling as early as possible in the process. This allows you to make informed goals and can be used as an important decision-making tool.


Greg Burrows has been specializing in research laboratories, corporate offices, and institutional facilities since joining BHDP in 1989. From 1996 to 2001, Greg was co-managing Principal at BHDP's Baxter/PEAS office. Baxter/PEAS is a Strategic Business Alliance with the Procter & Gamble Co. providing A/E services for the company's World Headquarters and its five Research and Development sites. In 1982 he received the ASID Educational Foundation Dora Brahms Award and was awarded an Undergraduate Fellowship for his thesis which won the Thesis Critics Award in 1983. He has traveled extensively, studying European, Caribbean, and North American architecture. Conference talks include "Success Strategies for Lab Building Modernization and Revitalization Projects" for Tradeline, and "Clean Environments: When to Select a Conventional vs. Pre-Manufactured Envelope" for Lab Design.

Couper Gardiner joined BHDP in 1988 and is Vice President and Project Manager in the firm's education team. With over 25 years design and management experience in architecture and planning, primarily for higher education and corporate clients, his service involves a high level of client interaction, sensitive design issues, added value, technical creativity, and coordination of multi-disciplinary teams, and often extends beyond the building to address larger issues. His design experience ranges from project feasibility and architectural programming to design documentation and field work, interior design, renovation, and adaptive reuse. He has served as team manager, project manager, project designer, and project planner. Conference talks include "Small Town Campus, Big-Time Attitude," "Image, Re-image: Campuses Compete for Learners" and "Placemaking for Science Learning" for Society for College and University Planning: "Management Approaches to Running New Capital Projects" and "New Issues and Decisions for Science Buildings - Teaching and Research" for Tradeline; and "Measures for Successful Programming: Case Studies" for University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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