CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The sustainable design and construction of the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois has earned the facility a LEED® Silver certification from the U.S Green Building Council.
IBRL strives to be a prominent facility for agricultural innovation, turning plants into products and scaling up renewable bioprocessing technologies through the advancement of food, fuel, and fiber-based research and education.
The laboratory, completed in May 2018, becomes the 18th project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be honored with LEED certification for incorporating practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, including water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
Dr. Mohamed Attalla, executive director of Facilities & Services (F&S), said, “Earning this certification shows the campus commitment to sustainability by creating an environmentally friendly space that will help inspire researchers to create innovative products that will transform the marketplace in the years to come.”
The 42,000-gross-square-foot laboratory is a part of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The building configuration was designed to be flexible and feature different types of equipment and bay setups, allowing researchers to adapt to the work and specialized equipment required by industrial partners. Due to the strict functional requirements for a processing facility, including significant utility usage and dedicated HVAC systems, LEED certification is an even more important and impressive achievement.
Dr. Vijay Singh, IBRL director and professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said, “It was important for the IBRL to be both functional and sustainable. IBRL’s research focuses on finding sustainable approaches to chemicals, food, and fuel. Now, we have a space that reflects these goals and will better serve those working in the facility and the end-users of the technologies that are developed here.”
The IBRL is also a space for students to work toward sustainable solutions. The Illinois Biodiesel Initiative, a Registered Student Organization, is focused on re-purposing used vegetable oil from campus dining halls into biodiesel and soap. Using the areas and resources available in IBRL will help the club with their long-standing efforts.
Since initiating the first LEED certified campus building in 2009, F&S staff have partnered with professional service consultants to certify 1,764,000-gross-square-feet of campus space. A full list of LEED certified facilities is available at https://www.fs.illinois.edu/projects/leed-certifications.
The university is a national leader in sustainable building design, requiring LEED certification for all major renovations and new construction projects with values greater than $5 million, as well as applying these techniques to both new construction and historic preservation.
LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is the most widely used green-building-rating program in the world for facilities, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. More information is available at https://new.usgbc.org/.
— University of Illinois ACES
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