University of Maryland School of Medicine

Medical school building at University of Maryland Baltimore gets LEED gold

March 20, 2019
The 439,000-square-foot Health Sciences Research Facility III opened in 2018.

The Health Sciences Research Facility III at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore has received LEED gold certification for its sustainable design and construction.

The university says the 439,000-square-foot facility, dubbed HSRF III, is the largest building in the University System of Maryland. It has sustainable features such as a green roof, a cistern water collection system, recycled content, indoor environmental quality, and energy recovery systems.

The facility is equipped with chilled beam technology, significantly reducing the amount of air changes per hour, plus the collection and storage of rainwater for use as make-up water for the rooftop cooling towers, which reduces the use of domestic water.

Daylight penetrates the building through its 10-story wet lab tower and its five-story dry lab tower — spaces where more than 400 personnel will be housed.

In the past, natural light was considered a detriment to laboratory spaces, recalls Ron Brown, director of capital projects at University of Maryland Baltimore. “The thinking in the older buildings was that windows took up wall space that could be used for shelves.” 

But campus buildings constructed in the 1990s brought in natural light and were much more inviting spaces, Brown says.

Because HSRF III is dedicated to research, the facility presents challenges in achieving energy reductions while maintaining safe levels of air changes per hour in the labs.

Through use of the new fume hoods and chilled beam technology, the university significantly reduced the amount of air changes per hour in both occupied and unoccupied modes.

In addition, HSRF III’s proximity to garages, public transportation, and other schools makes it carbon-friendly, as do 47 secure bike storage spaces as well as shower facilities.

The building also offers 23,621 square feet of vegetated open space, and the planting of native and adaptive plants that can grow without additional irrigation allows for 100 percent reduction in water use.

The green roof uses a combination of reflective materials and vegetated surfaces to ensure the building does not contribute to the heat island effect found in large areas of dark-colored hardscape and rooftops in many urban areas. The vegetated roof areas also absorb stormwater and control runoff.

HSRF III achieved a 22 percent energy cost reduction and a 32 percent water reduction because of high-performance glazing on the south façade, natural ventilation, high-efficiency flush fixtures, and low-flow sinks. Twenty percent of the project materials were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of site, supporting local industry and reducing carbon emissions from transport. 

The building officially opened with a ribbon cutting in October.

Video from University of Maryland School of Medicine:

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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