Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - Sustainability
Meets Passive Survivability on the Gulf Coast
Jim Nicolow, AIA, LEED®
AP, Lord, Aeck & Sargent
The biologically diverse, 18,400-acre Grand Bay National
Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), located in Southeast Mississippi,
will soon have a "green" interpretive and research center.
Administered by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR),
the Grand Bay NERR facility will adhere to a rigorous set of energy
and water saving criteria and is targeting LEED Gold Certification.
The building's design overlays smart sustainable strategies such
as daylight harvesting light shelves, sun shading overhangs and
displacement ventilation, with coastal vernacular elements such
as low slung roofs, deep porches, and a one-story wood-framed structure
elevated on pilings. Sited in an area with frequent, extended weather-related
power outages, daylighting, natural ventilation, and external shading
were seen not just as energy savings strategies but as means of
making the building inhabitable when power is interrupted. An innovative
thermal storage system dramatically reduces the size of the building's
cooling plant while contributing to a 40 percent improvement over
code. Harvested rainwater will be utilized for toilet flushing and
hosing down research boats.
The facility combines exhibit, education, research,
residential, and administrative space with a program that includes:
- Interpretive exhibits pertaining to the local ecology, which
encompasses coastal bay, expansive saltwater marshes, maritime
pine forest, pine savanna and pitcher plant bogs.
- Laboratories for use by NERR and academic partner researchers.
- A dormitory for visiting researchers and graduate students studying
- Administrative office space for staff members of the Grand Bay
NERR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which owns the lands
on which the facility is being sited.
The poster will provide an overview of the sustainable design strategies
employed and explore their interface with the concept of passive
survivability in a post-Katrina environment.
Consistent with the Labs21 Approach, the project began with a goal-setting
eco charrette involving the entire design team. A key goal of the
research facility was to serve as a demonstration of ecologically
responsible design and construction in this unique, fragile coastal
environment. The LEED Rating System was utilized to establish and
track environmental and performance goals for the project. Building
simulation, including thermal modeling, daylight simulation, and
shading analysis were conducted to optimize whole-building performance.
Nationally-recognized green architectural and mechanical firms were
strategically partnered with local firms to ramp up regional green
Jim Nicolow leads the sustainability initiative at Lord,
Aeck & Sargent, an architectural firm with offices in Ann Arbor,
Michigan; Atlanta; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His role is
to facilitate the incorporation of sustainable design strategies
and features into the firm's design projects and to spearhead efforts
to integrate the use of quantitative analysis to inform the firm's
sustainable design work. Lord, Aeck & Sargent is a Labs21 Supporter
and Jim Nicolow participated in the development of EPC Version 2.
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