Daniel DuBois/Vanderbilt
Engineering and Science Building, Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt's Engineering and Science Building gets LEED Gold

Feb. 20, 2019
The university says the facility has the most energy-efficient lab space on its campus.

The Engineering and Science Building on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The facility, completed in 2016, has laboratories, classrooms and a state-of-the-art cleanroom that houses both faculty and student learning and innovation.

“Receiving gold status shows we are on the right path when we carry out building and renovating on campus,” says Mike Perez, associate vice chancellor of administration for facilities. “Making sure we are approaching these projects with long-term sustainability in mind has been a significant shift since the launch of FutureVU.”

Vanderbilt says the Engineering and Science Building houses the university’s most energy-efficient lab space. Designers used 3D modeling to evaluate aspects such as orientation, heat gain from windows, and natural light.

The lighting system saves energy through LED bulbs and occupancy sensors that enable lights to be off except where people are working.

Other green design elements that helped achieve its LEED status include:

•20-foot-tall enthalpy wheels to transfer heat and humidity
•Chilled beams supplied by hot and cold water to condition spaces 
•A 10,000-gallon cistern to capture rain water for irrigation
•Sunshading frit on glass to optimize natural light and help prevent bird strikes
•Flexibility of design to accommodate different lab type use over time as well as lab renovations without major mechanical systems rework
•Cleanroom energy reduction through occupancy and particle sensors to decrease system use when not needed

“Our goal was to be very thoughtful in the materials used and how we could make sure this building lasts for generations of scholars,” says Keith Loiseau, university architect. “Balancing the tremendous energy needs of the building’s features with our university’s goals of responsible environmental design was the biggest challenge we faced.”

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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