Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source Building (NSLS-II) Ringed with Gold

(March 11, 2013) - HDR's new National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) Ring Building at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, N.Y., has earned LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  As part of a phased approach, the Ring Building was separated into its own LEED project and is the first to achieve certification, with two other NSLS-II projects following close behind and also expected to achieve LEED Gold.

Designed by HDR, the 515,000-square-foot NSLS-II project design and construction spans years, with all phases of conventional construction due to be completed in 2013. To simplify the review and rating process, the NSLS-II project is divided into three separate projects, using two different LEED rating systems. "The LEED campus approach was essential in achieving LEED Gold certification on the building. It allowed us to leverage the benefits of the holistic approach to the site design, while streamlining the LEED documentation process," explains Shannon Roberts, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, PMP, HDR Sustainable Design project manager.

"The 331,385-square-foot NSLS-II Ring Building contains an electron accelerator facility, a booster building and an energy storage tunnel, as well as an experimental hall. The experimental hall houses dozens of beamlines, on which nearly 3,000 scientists will work on research in biology, medicine and environmental and geosciences, as well as nanoscience and materials and chemical sciences," says HDR project principal Ahmad Soueid, AIA, LEED AP BD+C.

The building is designed with many flexible and sustainable features while maintaining a highly economical approach to save as much of the project budget as possible to support the high technology it is meant to house. The geometry of the conventional facilities mirrors that of the accelerator. "We studied the geometry of the "machine" and developed a structural grid with column lines angled at 3 degrees apart. This mirrors the angle of the accelerator beamline as it bends, while passing the various magnets in the storage tunnel. The electrical engineering design is coordinated to be in concert with the parallel systems that support the "machine," and the material selection is heavily influenced by sustainability and economy," adds Soueid.

HDR worked closely with Martin Fallier, director of conventional facilities for the NSLS-II (BNL), along with the scientific and construction teams, including general contractor Torcon, Inc, in the design of the facility. One primary goal was to reduce the energy bill for the entire ring building, using an advanced cooling system for nearly all of the building equipment. It is anticipated to save 1.2 megawatts of power. Energy efficiency measures also include an improved thermal envelope, high efficiency glazing and reduced interior lighting,

A smart and green building, all of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are designed for maximum efficiency. Plus, it operates intuitively and shuts the lights off when not in use.

Sitting on a brownfield site, the NSLS-II project took a campus-wide approach early on to ensure the sustainable site LEED credits were earned on all three LEED projects. Located in a field of native and adaptive grasses, it provides over 1 million square feet of open space for building occupants while preserving and enhancing the local habitat.

Inside the building, sustainable materials added to the green design and it offers occupants a healthy indoor environment, with particular attention paid to protecting the air quality within by using low-emitting materials for all interior finishes. The Ring Building was able to earn LEED Gold by incorporating the following:

  • 87 percent of construction waste was diverted from the landfill (recycled)
  • 44 percent of materials used in construction contain recycled content
  • Nearly 100 percent of the steel is recycled and much of the concrete uses recycled fly ash 
  • 39 percent of materials are locally sourced (manufactured and extracted within 500 miles)
  • 99 percent of the wood installed is FSC-Certified
  • Low-flow fixtures are incorporated to conserve water, with a 37 percent savings in water usage
  • Parking for 100 bicycles with 10 shower and changing facilities available for users
  • 43 parking spaces are dedicated to low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, and 43 parking spaces are dedicated to carpools
  • No site irrigation,  with native or adaptive plants chosen for over 51 percent of the site