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Sustainability Program

Energy Sciences Building

An LEED Gold Building

Argonne’s Energy Sciences Building (ESB) is an intersection of discovery where teams of scientists connect in a flexible, open space that meets evolving scientific needs.

The ESB contains a nexus of interdisciplinary research in basic materials design, fundamental chemistry and energy systems research designed to address the nation’s most pressing challenge of the 21st century – clean, affordable, and diverse sources of energy. The ESB also fosters Argonne’s growing partnerships with universities and industry.

Argonne’s Energy Sciences Building houses approximately 200 research personnel dedicated to addressing the world’s most critical energy challenges. The new facility supports the development of highly reliable, safe and long-lived battery systems; revolutionary, efficient and environmentally friendly processes for creating novel feedstocks and fuels; and transformational systems for solar energy production.

The ESB is both a world-class scientific facility and a shining example of sustainable design. When designers came together to plan the ESB, they wanted to create a research environment that was multi-disciplinary rather than hived off in separate departments. The building itself acts as a tool to change the way people work. In an energy laboratory working to solve the world’s biggest energy problems, it was also important that the building be energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable.

Sustainable construction materials

All ESB materials were required to be durable and low environmental impact. We were successful sourcing materials to meet these objectives. More than 20% of the building materials were local; and more than 20% were recycled. We’re also proud that we were able to support responsible forest management—with more than 80% of the wood coming from Forest Stewardship Council certified and reclaimed sources.

Passive design and daylighting strategies

The design team sought opportunities to utilize passive design strategies. By using a large northern exposure to introduce diffuse north daylight while keeping solar heat gain to a minimum. Large skylights were incorporated to let daylight penetrate through the three-story atrium. Canted ceilings allow sunlight from perimeter offices to penetrate through corridors into labs.

Innovative heating and ventilation system

All of these high-performance heating and ventilation systems are controlled by a central building automation system (BAS), which provides additional means of energy savings through monitoring schedule, occupancy and controls. The sum of efficiencies in these systems contributes to an overall energy performance that is predicted to exceed the baseline ASHRAE 90.1 standard by 38 percent.