main facade

The Environmental Studies Lab

East Coast, USA

Codi Shine

Construction Option

Building Name The Environmental Studies Lab: Expansion
Building Location East Coast, USA
Building Tenants: Environmental Researchers
Building Function Lab and Research Center
Size 72,000 GSF
Total Levels 4 (Basement, Level 1, Level 2, and a Mechanical Penthouse
Construction Dates 6/1/2011 - 10/7/2013
Contract Value $39 Million
Project Delivery Method Design-Bid-Build


Project Team
Owner: (confidential)


Architect/MEP Engineer


General Contractor


Structural Engineer


Civil Engineer

The Environmental Studies Lab is located on 12 miles of undeveloped shore line on the east coast of The United States of America.  The natural site supports the research the scientists perform on a variety of ecosystems.  The current site offers offices, laboratories, and living facilities for the scientists as well as visiting scientists.  There is an environmental center located just off site for educational and public use.
There is a lot of research currently be conducted in trailers that are incompatible of providing the space needed for the scientists.  The expansion of The Environmental Studies Lab will provide more research labs and support spaces for the scientist to expand on their research.  It is two stories building with the two main levels and the basement being occupied with labs and offices and a mechanical penthouse.  The main façade is south facing with brick, fiber cement siding, corrugated metal panels and a curtain wall.  On the main entry patio, there are three cisterns to collect water runoff from the roof for irrigation.  There are wetlands on the south side of the building that run to the local shore line. 

Building Codes
2009 International Building Code
2008 National Electric Code, NFPA 70
2009 International Mechanical Code
2009 International Plumbing Code
2010 NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code
2007 ANSI/ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings         

(Still researching)

Historical Requirements
There are no historical requirements.

Building Enclosure

Building Façade

The façade of the labs were very intricate in the details; the south facing façade had many different materials.  Towards the foundation of the building, the building façade was brick the whole way around.  The next few feet up is fiber cement siding followed by an aluminum curtain wall system.  Above that is a corrugated metal panel section.  The system then has another section of fiber cement siding and corrugated metal panels.  Behind both the siding and the metal panels are insulated metal panels that act as spray foam insulation.  There is six inch cold form metal framing which is next to the metal studs that is on the gypsum wall board.


Most of the roofing system is typical.  There is a PVC membrane for the top layer of the roof membrane.  Then there is rigid insulation that tappers so the water can drain off the roof and into the cisterns .  Under that is metal decking and a thick layer of spray foam insulation.

Sustainable Features

While the building was originally designed to attain LEED Gold certification, LEED Platinum is what is actually achieved.  The design includes three cisterns to collect the runoff water from the roof and distribute it to the wetlands.  There are also 250 geothermal wells that hook up to the geothermal system to help make the building more energy efficient.  Motion and vacancy detectors are located in every room to save electricity.


The construction of The Environmental Studies Lab:  Expansion is on 72,000 gross square feet of land.  Notice to proceed was on June 1, 2011 with the original turnover day being April 22, 2013.  There was sequencing involved to help move the project along.  The building was broken into section 2 and section 3. 

The project delivery method was design-bid-build.  The owner contracted Ewing Cole to design the building.  Not only were they the architect, but they were also the MEP Engineer for this building as well.  They contracted Woods Peacock as the Structural Engineer and Alpha Corporation as the Civil Engineer.  After the design was done, it was bid out to Hensel Phelps as the General Contractor.  Hensel Phelps then contracted all the work except for the concrete work.  Joshua Construction became the Mechanical/Plumbing Contractor, Reyco Electrical Services are the Electrical Contractor, Steel LLC is the Steel Contractor, and State Wide Septic & Backhoe is the Earthwork Contractor. 


The structural system for The Environmental Studies Lab:  Expansion is mainly a structural steeleast steel system.  Above grade it is structural steel.  There are steel columns, beams and composite metal decking.  Behind the façade, is a six inch cold form metal framing.  The roof beams range from W12 to W24.  Below grade is all concrete.  The basement is all cast in place concrete.  Most of the concrete is brought in by a pump and is contracted out to the general contractor, Hensel Phelps.  The slab on grade is concrete as well as the spread footings.  The slab on grade ranges from four to six inches thick depending on where it is located in the building.  It is reinforced with welded wire fabric.  All concrete footings and walls are reinforced with rebar ranging from #3 to #8.  The composite metal decking has a concrete slab as well. 


The Environmental Studies Lab:  Expansion includes the construction of a central utility plant (CUP).  In the CUP are twelve water-to-water heat pumps connected to a closed loop geothermal system. The new geothermal system consists of 250 wells drilled 430 feet deep into the ground.  The geothermal wells circulate the water which either rejects or takes heat from the ground and transfer it to the water-to-water heat pumps.  The heat pumps then change the water to either hot or cold, depending on what is needed in the building.  There are also four 100% outside air air handling units.  Three of them are in the roof penthouse.  All of the air handling units contain an enthalpy wheel which transfers energy that would be lost from the exhaust stream to the supply stream.  The small support labs contain one or two chemistry fume hoods with a dedicated exhaust system.  The large labs contain snorkels that are connected to the exhaust system. 


The plumbing work for the expansion will be new for the entire building.  There will be new sanitary lines and pump station, new waste and vent lines.  There is also the installation of a separate industrial waste system that contains an acid neutralization system and chemical resistant piping.  In the CUP, there will be a hot water heater installed and a storage tank connected to the solar hot water system.  This solar hot water system makes use of collector panels on the penthouse.  In the expansion, there are several emergency eyewash and shower stations located throughout both floors.  Since it is a lab, there needs to be a laboratory gas distribution system and a reverse osmosis/de-ionized water system.  There are three cisterns to collect rainwater to distribute to the wetlands and therefore the geothermal wells.


The Environmental Studies Lab:  Expansion includes a new 480/277 volt transformer that serves the entire building.  There are seven automatic transfer switches (ATS) that switch between normal and emergency power.  Unlike other buildings, this entire building operates on one generator.  The power distribution system includes conduits, panelboards, and raceways.  In the labs, there are multi-outlet raceways for both power and data.  There are new fluorescent lights in the labs and mostly LED lights outside the building.  Throughout the building, there are dimmable controls and occupancy sensors to help save on energy consumption. 

Fire Protection

Fire protection for this building consists of fire rated walls and floors.  There is a new wet pipe sprinkler system installed.  Throughout the building, there are speakers, strobe notification devices and smoke detectors.  The fire alarm system is connected to the sprinkler system, building automation system, smoke dampers, elevators and door controls.  This is so in case of a fire, all systems will work together to get everyone out of the building safely.








































Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in‐progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Codi Shine. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design


This page was last updated on October 25, 2013, by Codi Shine and is hosted by the AE Department ©2013