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Sustainability Program

Materials Design Laboratory

New LEED Building

The new Materials Design Laboratory (MDL) at Argonne is the final building to complete Argonne’s Energy Quad, a group of four adjoining buildings designed to maximize collaboration between energy and materials scientists at Argonne.


From designing tailored superconductors to transform the nation’s energy grid to developing better materials for wind turbines and finding potential replacements for silicon for next-generation computers, the MDL allows scientists to discover new materials, understand how they work, and put them to use.

The MDL encompasses roughly 115,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, including 10,000 square feet of lab space for radiological research, in which scientists can work safely with radiological isotopes to determine their relevance to new energy technologies.

At the MDL, researchers are investigating structures at scales all the way from a single electron on up. Scientists at the MDL also study the interfaces where molecules come together in new materials, and they are able to test the properties of a wide range of materials under extreme conditions.

Sustainability is a defining feature in the design of MDL and the facility achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold” rating from the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC). MDL also meets DOE’s Guiding Principles of High-Performance Sustainable Buildings.

Among the sustainable design features are high-efficiency lighting, recycled material content, energy-recovery systems, helium-recovery systems, green power, high-efficiency HVAC systems, regionally sourced materials, certified wood, low-emitting materials, and enhanced commissioning.

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