Net Zero Energy Warehouse and Distribution Center

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Highlights
  • LEED® Platinum Certified
  • Utility grid connection to help manage energy and limit the need for on-site energy storage
  • Generating on-site energy using rooftop photovoltaics
  • Implementation of daylighting to off-set lighting energy needs
  • Occupancy sensors to reduce conditioning energy consumption
  • Materials and finishes with minimal off-gassing and maximum durability
  • LED lamps to minimize the introduction of mercury onto the building site

Durham, North Carolina

SSOE provided architectural design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and LEED® and energy modeling services on this new 25,000 SF North Warehouse and Distribution Center for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This new space now consolidates all warehousing efforts onto the National Institute of Health (NIH) campus, not only increasing security, but eliminating the need for off-site leasing facilities.

The client’s goal was to design and construct the facility as a source basis Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB), a building that produces enough renewable energy to off-set its total source energy consumption on an annual basis. Net zero buildings are recognized worldwide as one of the highest aspirations in energy performance in the built environment. Creating a net zero building requires two basic steps. The first step is to increase energy efficiency through efficient building construction, efficient systems and appliances, operations and maintenance, and changes in user behavior. The second step is to address the remaining energy needs with on-site renewable energy generation. SSOE helped the NIEHS achieve both of these.

Since Title IV mandates that federally owned and operated facilities include LEED, the SSOE team not only designed a NZEB for this project, they also had to achieve LEED compliance for the systems used in the building. While the minimum acceptable certification level for the project was LEED Gold, the project team was able to achieve LEED Platinum in early October 2018. Additionally, the facility is the only NZEB in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Based on the calculations from the energy model, the project will save the client 157,000 kWh/year or approximately $12,381 year.

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