A Dynamic Hub for Energy and Sustainability Research: Caltech Resnick Sustainability Center

Punit Jain, AIA, LEED Fellow, CannonDesign

How do you design a campus icon of sustainability? When completed, the Caltech Resnick Sustainability Center will be a leading teaching, research and learning environment focused on the greatest climate-related challenges we face today. The Resnick Sustainability Center will be home to critical research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water, environmental resources, ecology, biosphere and more. The five initiatives in the building will be Solar Science and Catalysis Center, Ecology and Biosphere Engineering Facility, Remote Sensing Center, Translational Science and Engineering Facility, and Education, which includes chemistry teaching labs and team-based learning classrooms.

The building will unite experts from across the physical sciences, life sciences, and engineering in shared facilities with access to unparalleled instrumentation to advance novel solutions to problems that extend beyond a single discipline. The proposed design is aspirational with a goal to achieve high levels of sustainability in all areas of the building and site from energy conservation to water conservation to material selection to indoor air quality and daylight. The exterior curtain wall is supported on a mass timber grid shell to reduce the building's carbon footprint. The project is pursuing LEED certification and the team is designing to achieve LEED Platinum.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand cutting-edge sustainable design strategies in a teaching and research lab building;
  • Learn how to integrate and showcase sustainable design solutions in a science building;
  • Identify complex laboratory equipment that leading universities are using in their buildings; and
  • Learn to manage goals and expectations for a sustainably-minded client.


A leader in the science, technology and sustainability practices, Punit Jain, AIA, LEED Fellow, brings extensive experience in the integration of systems, spaces and experiences for his clients. He is responsible for generating innovative solutions in regenerative and net-zero designs for complex scientific facilities at all scales.


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