2017 Offsite Tours

Attendees explored a few of the most innovative advancements in sustainable laboratory and facility design on our Cambridge and Boston site tours.

Cambridge Tour

Boston Tour


Cambridge Tour
Tuesday, October 17, 3-7:30 p.m.

3:30–5 p.m.

The Cambridge Tour started out at MIT.nano, a new 214,000 GSF addition to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's campus that combines cleanrooms, nanotechnology, materials, and engineering systems research with the most advanced fabrication tools and materials processing capabilities.

Located steps from the Infinite Corridor and MIT's Great Dome, the facility will serve 2,000 MIT researchers, faculty and students with over 100,000 SF of new laboratory space. Attendees got to explore a building that consolidates complex research activities, state-of-the art energy conservation measures and abatement systems while simultaneously creating new connections and outdoor spaces – transforming the significant site into a campus-wide asset and new destination for the Institute.

With its high-tech cleanrooms; material science, imaging, chemistry teaching and fabrication facilities; MIT.nano is envisioned to become an exciting new hub for MIT's School of Engineering.

Thank you to our tour sponsor:

Wilson Architects


Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research
5:15–7:15 p.m.

From MIT.nano, tour attendees walked down the street to the Research Laboratory Complex at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. Here they explored vibrant laboratory space that optimizes energy efficiency and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Occupying two city blocks in a former industrial area, the project site weaves itself into the existing urban fabric, re-using existing infrastructure and a previously developed brownfield.

To minimize the energy load of the campus, the equipment and occupant intensive laboratory areas were kept off of the long façades to minimize their exposure to sunlight and, consequently, the amount of energy required to keep these spaces cool. Attendees also saw how automated building controls and energy-efficient HVAC systems and lab equipment contribute to overall energy savings.

A combined heat and power cogeneration plant is estimated to reduce campus carbon emissions by more than 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year and contribute to a 40 percent reduction in total energy consumption.

This state of the art LEED Gold research complex includes laboratories, specialized science spaces, a 350-seat auditorium, dining facilities, retail tenant space, a three-story underground garage and a central utility plant. The building interiors focus on occupant comfort and cross-disciplinary communication by pairing highly-flexible laboratory spaces with collaborative meeting and conference rooms without compromising on sustainability.

Thank you to our tour sponsor:



Boston Tour
Tuesday, October 17, 5:30-8 p.m.

Northeastern University Integrated Science and Engineering Complex
5:30–6:30 p.m.

The first stop on the Boston Tour was Northeastern University's Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC). With its integrated, sustainable design and innovative energy recovery and conservation systems, ISEC's architectural form is intrinsically linked with high performance. It is designed to use 75% less energy than a typical intensive research building and will provide the University a projected 33% energy cost savings.

Tour attendees had a chance to see such features as a cascading air system that recycles chilled beam cooled air from office spaces through the atrium and on into high-energy research spaces to provide highly controlled laboratory space. LED lighting and daylight and occupancy sensors were used in addition to using natural lighting from skylights to minimize the energy used for lighting.

The complex was also designed with office space oriented south and west and shaded by high performance sunshades. These sunshades were developed using custom compositing software and modeling to allow for highly accurate performance predictions, which optimized energy savings and enabled precise equipment sizing. The sunshade equipment could then be prefabricated for rapid on-site installation despite its complex nature.

Boston University Center for Integrated Life Science and Engineering
7–8 p.m.

From ISEC, tour attendees headed over to Boston University's Center for Integrated Life Science and Engineering (CILSE). Through its sustainable design, the center has reduced energy use by an amount equal to the energy required to power 91 homes annually.

CILSE also demonstrates Boston University's commitment to climate change preparedness and resiliency through its unique placement of mechanical systems at levels two and three of the building instead of the usual locations on the roof or basement levels. This places the electrical and mechanical levels above the flood level expected in Boston at the end of the century.

Tour attendees got a firsthand look at the building's unique layout that groups spaces into energy intensity zones, which allows for low-, medium-, and high-energy intensity spaces to exist on each floor without an energy penalty.

Among other sustainable features, tour attendees also sawlighting, occupancy and vacancy sensors that ensure spaces are only lit when necessary, built-in task lighting for individual work station lighting control in open laboratory areas to decrease dependency on ambient lighting and decrease overall energy intensity in these spaces, low flow faucets and toilets that save 317,880 gallons of water each year, and a 5,000 gallon rainwater cistern that collects rainwater to use for landscape tree irrigation.

Thank you to our tour sponsor:

Turner Construction Company



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