Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) Earns LEED® Gold Certification

(October 15, 2013)—The HDR-designed Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering (JSNN) at Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, North Carolina has earned LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Designed to facilitate education, research and development in nanotechnology, nanomanufacturing, and nanomaterials, JSNN supports diverse research in projects ranging from cancer breakthroughs to the composition of streamlined materials for aircraft. The 105,000 square-foot, $43.5 million building is located at the entrance to the Gateway Research Park, a joint academic program of North Carolina A &T State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The mission of the JSNN, opened in 2012, is to provide a collaborative environment where scientific discoveries can move from the university lab to the commercial marketplace. Serving both campuses, it includes flexible, open laboratories that enable the leading-edge research taking place within the facility. Gateway serves as a bridge to successful commercial application for the scientific research being performed at Greensboro's two high research universities. 

"We're extremely proud to receive this prestigious designation from the USGBC and the GBCI says John Merrill, Gateway's executive director. Gateway has embraced sustainability and LEED concepts for the entire South Campus development. A large undertaking such as this cannot be done independently. We share this recognition with the team of talented partners who helped guide us through the process. Without their guidance, this would not have been possible and we share this achievement with everyone involved."
HDR Architecture, Inc. designed the sustainable building, working with the joint-venture construction team of Barton Malow/Samet/SRS. With 79 percent of the occupied areas in the building daylit with natural light, JSNN provides a significant, 30 percent reduction in energy use and a 51 percent reduction in water use, key factors in achieving LEED Gold. Its location at the entrance to the research park and its iconic, transparent glass entrance invites interaction with the community it serves, and offers a dramatic view into the sleek, cone-shaped auditorium at the front of the building. 

Air quality was paramount, both to the research taking place within the cleanroom laboratories and to the occupants of the building. One 7,000 square-foot cleanroom includes nine air handlers, more than required in a typical hospital.  A Construction Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) plan was implemented during construction and before the building was occupied to ensure the well-being of the workers and ultimately the users of the building, while low-emitting materials are also used throughout the interior.
In addition, the building met these additional sustainable benchmarks:

  • Enhanced commissioning 
  • 96% of construction waste recycled
  • 31% of construction materials contain recycled content
  • 46% of construction materials are regionally-sourced 
  • 74% of the wood used is from FSC-certified forests

James G. Ryan, JSNN's Founding Dean said, "The JSNN building is a state-of-the-art education and research facility that has a critical role in achieving our goals of innovation, collaboration and assisting with economic development in the Piedmont Triad region. The faculty, staff and students of JSNN take great pride in the facility's LEED Gold designation." 

The building's sleek, green design and its lofty mission creates an ideal pairing of aesthetics and science that will inspire students, researchers and the Greensboro community for many decades.