Verifying High-Performance In the Laboratory of the Future at Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research Inc., Cambridge, MA

Punit Jain, CannonDesign

Working with Novartis to realize their vision of creating 'healthy, vibrant working environments that optimize energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,' the team focused intently on realizing sustainable design solutions throughout the project lifecycle. Occupying two former city blocks in a former industrial area, the site weaves itself into the existing urban fabric which saved the need to develop and build new services and potentially disturb a more sensitive environment on a greenfield site.

In this presentation, we will share post-occupancy lessons learned from this high-performance, LEED Gold biomedical research laboratory in Cambridge, MA. In December 2015, the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research (NIBR) moved into its new Cambridge Campus Expansion, an 800,000 SF multi-building complex located on Massachusetts Avenue. While the ribbon-cutting ceremony was a major milestone, all involved understood that such a large facility does not fill up overnight and takes time to operate at designed efficiencies. It has now been well over a year since the facility has reached full occupancy.

While this new facility houses and fosters science that will save lives, the design and operation of the building is a science unto itself. Initially prompted by the city of Cambridge Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance, the owner and design team will engage in a post-occupancy evaluation of energy, water, waste and other key metrics that will yield some critical lessons learned for high-performance buildings. This presentation will compare design assumptions and strategies to actual performance to positively impact future design and operations for buildings of all types.

Learning Objectives

  • learn key performance metrics for sustainable, high-performance laboratory buildings;
  • understand building and systems design strategies that optimize building performance;
  • gain insight into post-occupancy evaluation methods that confirm operational performance; and
  • take away key lessons learned for designing and operating similar building types.


A LEED Fellow and leader in the science, technology and sustainability practices at CannonDesign, Punit Jain brings extensive experience in the integration of systems, spaces and experiences for a wide range of clients. Having designed over 25 LEED projects, he is responsible for generating innovative solutions in regenerative and net-zero design for complex scientific facilities at a campus and building scale. Punit serves on the national board of I2SL and the advisory board of SEFA.


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