Advancing Innovation and Sustainability: University of Arizona's Bioscience Research Laboratories

Vicki Worden, Green Building Initiative
David Eldridge Jr., P.E., BEMP, BEAP, HBDP, GGA, Grumman/Butkus Associates

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As potentially heavy resource consumers, scientific laboratories are faced with unique challenges, as well as exciting opportunities when it comes to incorporating sustainable measures to reduce their environmental impact. Historically, laboratories have housed energy-intensive systems and produced substantial waste, but this trend is shifting to incorporate efficient equipment and sustainable operational practices. The Bioscience Research Laboratories on the University of Arizona campus is one such leader in these efforts. With this project, the University and BSW Architects demonstrated how the use of an Integrated Design Process can result in more innovative and environmentally sustainable design. From the project's inception, incorporating a variety of sustainable measures was an overarching goal.

This presentation will focus on the Bioscience Research Laboratories' sustainable design and construction, and how the project team used GBI's Green Globes for New Construction assessment and certification system as a guide and to measure intended performance of the facility. The project team evaluated and integrated sustainability measures into all aspects of the project through a holistic approach, which greatly impacted the overall facility footprint. The case study will primarily include details of the facility's energy consumption reduction efforts. The building has a passive solar envelope, which makes it adaptive to its local environment. Daylighting and views were incorporated into the design while minimizing glare and heat gain, and interior glass partitions allow light and views to penetrate into the facility. These features, among others, contributed to a 32 percent improved energy performance as compared to the standard based on energy modeling.

This presentation will also cover the impressive water reduction efforts, including the process for fixture selection water intensive applications. It will highlight the implementation of permeable pavement to achieve greater than 50 percent reclaimed water for non-potable uses in the landscape design. Finally, the projects' Green Globes Assessor will explain how the Bioscience Research Laboratories achieved nearly 80 percent waste diversion from landfills in a typically waste intensive industry. Attendees will understand how to incorporate feasible, yet impactful, sustainability initiatives into their laboratories, as the Bioscience Research Laboratories serve as an exceptional example to the industry.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand that, while laboratories can potentially be heavy resource consumers, there exist unique and innovative design, construction and operations features that decrease the environmental footprint of laboratories;
  • Identify the sustainability features that the Bioscience Research Laboratories incorporated into their project and understand how these practices, specifically related to energy, water consumption reduction, and waste mitigation, can be applied to the attendees' laboratory or future laboratory;
  • Recognize that GBI's Green Globes third-party assessment and certification system guides project teams through sustainability initiatives that are applicable to the building's usage and location; and
  • Realize that the value of a third-party assessor through the Green Globes certification process and recognize that Green Globes is a collaborative and transparent process that provides guidance at every stage.


As the President of GBI, Vicki brings more than 20 years of experience working with industries, governments, and a variety of non-profit organizations in the advancement of broad sustainability objectives. Vicki is a leader known for her ability to build consensus and bridge political, technical, and business domains. She holds an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

David is a P.E. working on analytical projects at Grumman/Butkus Associates in Evanston, Illinos, including sustainability assessments, benchmarking, energy audits, energy modeling, and other troubleshooting assessments. David has been a contributor to ASHRAE committees on building energy performance, healthcare facilities, and certification. Over the past eight years, he has worked on 134 Green Globes assessments for complex facilities including casino resorts, hospitals, and laboratories.


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