Happy Earth Day!  The University of Utah in Salt Lake City celebrated the day with a groundbreaking ceremony for a new research facility.  The James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building – A USTAR Innovation Center is being built to LEED Gold certification standards.

The building is the first of four that will make up a new Interdisciplinary Quadrangle.  The $130 million project is being funded in part by the University of Utah, the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative, a $15 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, and a $1.25 million gift from the Micron Technology Foundation.

“According to Jerry Percifield, Lord, Aeck & Sargent principal in charge of the project, the design team met the charge for sustainability by creating an energy efficient building that will reduce both energy use and energy cost from current laboratory code requirements by a minimum of 40 percent.  Some of the strategies used to achieve this include daylighting that will allow natural light to reach at least 75 percent of the building’s occupied spaces, and the use of sunshades to modulate the quality and intensity of light as it enters the building at different times of day and from different angles throughout the year.” Source: Lord, Aeck & Sargent

The 200,000 square-foot, five-story building should be completed in the fall of 2011.  For more information on the university’s green initiatives, visit The University of Utah’s Office of Sustainability site.

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