We are pleased to announce that the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center at Lafayette College has earned LEED® Platinum Certification as established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) verified the certification. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The Rockwell Center is the first academic science center in Pennsylvania, and one of a handful across the country, to achieve Platinum status. With a 73% reduction in energy usage and an EUI of 78 kBtu/sf the building boasts impressive energy targets and meets the 2030 Commitment. The energy savings is equivalent to the energy use of 224 residential homes per year.
The Rockwell Center was intentionally designed to spark and strengthen interdisciplinary connections, a distinctive feature of Lafayette’s educational mission. The Integrated Science Center includes teaching labs, research labs, support spaces, offices, a rooftop greenhouse and an animal facility. The building’s interdisciplinary identity is supported by the centrally located areas for STEM leadership, the Office of Sustainability, Environmental Science and Studies and Neuroscience. Although the new building added 100,000 square feet to the campus, the highly efficient strategies resulted in a 40% reduction in the college’s total annual carbon footprint.
The main conservation strategy was to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool spaces. The building’s remarkably low EUI is achieved through the employment of an enthalpy wheel heat recovery system, condensing boilers and the use of a heat recovery chiller. Ventilation is provided by 100% outside air with a dedicated air handling unit for the vivarium. Minimum ventilation air quantities are provided to building spaces as an Airquity system monitors air quality and maintains a safe working environment. Fan coil units provide heating and cooling while fin tube radiation maintains thermal comfort for occupants adjacent to glazing as they conduct research and study in the atrium. The glazing on the project to is limited to 27% yet still provides abundant natural light and 95% of the building has views to the outside.
Since the complex houses the Biology department, with faculty who conduct significant research focused on birds, the limited glazing was also employed as a bird safety strategy. All glazing expanses over 35 square feet use a ceramic frit pattern visible to birds, as recommended by the American Bird Conservancy and LEED pilot point criteria.
Sustainability Strategies by the Numbers: