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A LEED® Silver Life Sciences Technology Building at Cornell University - Case Study

Randy Lacey, Cornell University
Mario Loiacono, P.E., LEED AP, Bard, Rao + Athanas (BR+A) Consulting Engineers

This case study will review the decisions made for systems, materials, and construction methods for a LEED Silver Life Sciences building at Cornell University. This 250,000-square-foot, multi-discipline science building was designed by Richard Meier and Partners (architects) working with BR+A (engineers) and GPR (laboratory planners). The building includes a wide range of research spaces including a vivarium, plant growth facility, low vibration imaging space, biological laboratories, and a learning center.

During the design process, a variety of HVAC system types were modeled to determine first cost and energy consumption. Using the LEED® scoring system and Labs21 EPC, the authors will discuss why certain measures were employed on this building while others were rejected. The decisions made will also be evaluated with regard to a more recent commitment by the University to achieve climate neutrality. Construction is nearing completion and decisions made will be evaluated relative to their cost and constructability.


Randy Lacey is the university engineer at Cornell University where he manages a staff of 50 engineers and project managers. He has Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Engineering from Cornell University and more than 25 years of experience designing laboratories, managing laboratory projects, and operating facilities. This experience includes design and operation of biohazard laboratories, animal facilities, good manufacturing practice drug production facilities, and many other unusual laboratories. He has authored many papers on efficient laboratory design and has been a presenter at ASHRAE, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Labs21, and other professional conferences.

Mario Loiacono, LEED AP, has over 30 years of experience in the design of industrial and academic research and laboratory facilities. As a LEED Accredited Professional, he brings his national experience and knowledge of sustainability issues to major projects. Mr. Loiacono is a regular contributor to professional symposia, including Labs21 and Tradeline Forums on Industry. Furthermore, he is considered a clean room specialist in the industry and is a regular presenter on nanoscience and nanofabrication design.

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