Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source Building (NSLS-II) Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Brookhaven National Laboratories' new National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) Ring Building in Upton, N.Y., has earned LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  NSLS-II is Brookhaven's newest building, and its half-mile ring building received the internationally recognized certification in recognition of its “green” design. Torcon was construction company for the 278,000 sq. ft. Ring Building and associated service buildings for BNL.

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"Green" building design aims to use natural resources without waste, protect occupant health and improve employee productivity, and reduce pollution and environmental degradation. The LEED program, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The building site for NSLS-II is set on land that had been previously disturbed — on the site of a World War I- and WWII-era rail yard — which does less environmental damage than starting construction on previously undisturbed land. Much of the concrete and asphalt that remained on the site was recycled and formed the stone base for the parking lots around the ring building.

The building is designed with many flexible and sustainable features while maintaining a highly economical approach to save as much of the project budget as possible to support the high technology it is meant to house. The geometry of the conventional facilities mirrors that of the accelerator.

One primary goal was to reduce the energy bill for the entire ring building, using an advanced cooling system for nearly all of the building equipment. It is anticipated to save 1.2 megawatts of power. Energy efficiency measures also include an improved thermal envelope, high efficiency glazing and reduced interior lighting.

A smart and green building, all of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are designed for maximum efficiency. Plus, it operates intuitively and shuts the lights off when not in use.

Sitting on a brownfield site, the NSLS-II project took a campus-wide approach early on to ensure the sustainable site LEED credits were earned on all three LEED projects. Located in a field of native and adaptive grasses, it provides over 1 million square feet of open space for building occupants while preserving and enhancing the local habitat.

Inside the building, sustainable materials added to the green design and it offers occupants a healthy indoor environment, with particular attention paid to protecting the air quality within by using low-emitting materials for all interior finishes. The Ring Building was able to earn LEED Gold by incorporating the following:

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    87 percent of construction waste was diverted from the landfill (recycled)

  • 44 percent of materials used in construction contain recycled content
  • Nearly 100 percent of the steel is recycled and much of the concrete uses recycled fly ash
  • 39 percent of materials are locally sourced (manufactured and extracted within 500 miles)
  • 99 percent of the wood installed is FSC-Certified
  • Low-flow fixtures are incorporated to conserve water, with a 37 percent savings in water usage
  • Parking for 100 bicycles with 10 shower and changing facilities available for users
  • 43 parking spaces are dedicated to low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, and 43 parking spaces are dedicated to carpools
  • No site irrigation, with native or adaptive plants chosen for over 51 percent of the site