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UC Berkeley Completes Construction of Alternative Energy Research Building

Energy Biosciences Building, Designed by SmithGroupJJR, Creates New Home for Energy Research Activities

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 10/18/12 -- Construction of the University of California, Berkeley's five-story, $133 million biofuels research building, designed by SmithGroupJJR, has reached completion in Berkeley, Calif. The 113,200-square-foot Energy Biosciences Building (EBB) is located at the northwest edge of the UC Berkeley campus, a site formerly occupied by the California Department of Health Services. Completed in conjunction with contractor Rudolph & Sletten, the EBB brings together researchers, academic leaders, and students to foster collaboration and spur innovation.

The Energy Biosciences Institute -- a public-private partnership formed to develop solutions to global energy challenges and reduce the impact of fossil fuels on global warming -- is the main occupant of the new building. Part of UC Berkeley's Department of Bioengineering is also housed in the facility.

Building plan responds to emerging industry trends
To accommodate the needs of users, SmithGroupJJR's designers worked with constituents to develop a flexible laboratory and office plan that responds to the varied research and work cultures of those using the facility. Stacked along the building's north face fronting Hearst Avenue, research spaces are dedicated to a specialized field of advanced energy exploration. Each floor is organized on a standardized plan and provides two open, eight-bay wet laboratories with dedicated support space located across a centrally-located equipment corridor.

The facility also houses laboratories for the study of molecular and microbial biology, fermentation, and chemical separation, as well as greenhouses, warm and cold rooms, and additional shared instrumentation space. Opposite the support labs, researchers' offices are organized along a glass curtain wall façade on the building's southern perimeter and overlook the newly created Berkeley Way plaza. Adjacent to offices, conferencing areas and kitchenettes provide venues for formal and informal breakout and social activities. A lobby, reception area, 80-seat auditorium, and auxiliary conference and gathering spaces are also provided at ground level.

Design, engineering solutions support UC Berkeley's sustainable goals
Targeted to attain LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, building and site design addressed a broad range of sustainable strategies. A highly-insulated exterior cladding system, comprised of glass fiber reinforced concrete panels, provides enhanced thermal and moisture conditions for interior spaces. On the south and west, an angular glass curtain wall profile -- projected away from this rainscreen-tiled base -- creates a crystalline façade and introduces daylight deep into the office spaces.

Inside, special attention was given to managing laboratory and fume hood ventilation to reduce energy use. This design is nearly 40 percent more efficient than current industry standards. Other features include automated roll-down window shades regulated by the building's management system and an innovative daylighting control system that adjusts output levels from artificial light sources as daylight travels deeper into the facility. High-performance insulated glass units were also incorporated at all exterior openings.

To further reduce heat gain, an exterior solar shading system was integrated into the curtain wall facade. At each floor, two rows of translucent sunshades are installed at alternating depths of two and three feet. "The sunshades guard against direct sunlight and help to lower energy while also reducing glare," said Suzanne Napier, design principal and leader of the Science, Technology, Learning & Courts Studio at SmithGroupJJR's San Francisco office.

Community benefits from new plaza
Sustainable strategies were not limited to building design. South of the EBB, a new plaza provides a much-needed green space. The move also aligns with the city of Berkeley's goals for downtown renewal. Among other improvements, it offers neighbors a public, park-like area, as well as a restored pedestrian connection for Walnut Street.

The building's opening was celebrated with tours during Cal's Homecoming Weekend on October 5-6. A formal dedication ceremony is scheduled in December 2012.

About SmithGroupJJR
SmithGroupJJR's Science & Technology Practice has completed the planning and design of over 18 million square feet of laboratories nationwide. Noteworthy projects include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's $49.5 million Molecular Foundry in Berkeley, Calif.; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Science & Technology Facility in Golden, Colo.; the University of California at San Francisco's $254 million Smith Cardiovascular Research Building (CVRB) in San Francisco, Calif.; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's $95 million Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, currently under construction in Urbana, Ill.

SmithGroupJJR (www.smithgroupjjr.com) is one of the largest architecture, engineering and planning firms in the U.S. The firm ranked #1 for design quality based on design awards won in Architect magazine's 2011 annual best firms ranking. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR has 363 LEED professionals and 75 LEED certified projects.

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