The Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Girguis Laboratory may specialize in studying microbes that inhabit the deepest and darkest areas of the ocean, but their research spaces are light and inviting thanks to a recent renovation, which was awarded LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The purpose of the 6,415-square-foot renovation was to increase the energy efficiency of the high-performing space and to create an indoor environment focused on health. Over 90 percent of occupied space within the renovated area was designed with access to daylight and views.

“As oceanographers, we are a very environmentally-minded group, and we’re committed to doing our part to reduce the footprint of our lab-based research wherever we can,” says Jenny Delaney, lab manager for the Girguis Lab. “The lab’s new design focuses on access to natural light, which not only saves energy, but has increased visibility into the lab, thanks to the glass paneling which lines the hallways.”

Oceans don’t rest and neither does the Girguis team. Because the lab is occupied for extended periods throughout the year, an important priority was to reducing energy use from lighting with the installation of healthier, more efficient LEDs, occupancy sensors, and controls with multiple lighting levels. Overall, the space is projected to use 13 percent less lighting power.

The team also installed an air handling unit that reduces energy, while adhering to strict air quality codes. Additionally, 39 percent of materials used were manufactured locally and 80 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

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