01. November 2012

The Science Lab: Thermal Break Installed at UMass

from Angie Tennyson

The University of Massachusetts Amherst began construction of the new  Life Science Laboratory building in February 2010. To meet energy efficiency goals, Isokorb® thermal break elements were installed in the canopy walkway to the entrance of the 310,000 GSF building. The images below show Isokorb® type S (for steel) installed along the building entrance, providing a structural thermal break connection at the canopy.

Image 1

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The final stages of construction are coming to a close on the $156.5 million project.

Below is today’s construction photo from the facility planning pages: http://www.umass.edu/fp/nlsb/


UMass project on November 1, 2012
UMass project on November 1, 2012

The Life Science Laboratory will bring researchers from different fields together in one building to work on major initiatives ranging from the development of biofuels and clean energy technologies to pharmaceutical production, drug design and tissue engineering.*

The state-of-the-art building consists of life science lab space, office, shared platforms and building support. Before the construction of the new Life Science Laboratory, the University’s science facilities were located within 54 different buildings, taking 2.8 million gross square feet of space.* This building will consolidate space and be more energy efficient.

Reducing Energy Consumption

While the study of building science is not a direct topic to be researched in the UMass New Life Science Laboratory, it was considered by the design team. Energy modeling was conducted on the building design to determine the most efficient building solutions.

With a requirement for LEED Silver certification, and on track for LEED Gold,  the New Life Science Laboratory features a number of energy-efficient systems and building envelope considerations, such as:

  • heat recovery chiller plant
  • ventilation energy recovery
  • low flow fume hoods
  • air quality monitoring system
  • water reclamation system
  • low flow plumbing fixtures
  • energy metering systems
  • structural thermal break elements

Laboratories typically consume large amounts of energy and water. The New Life Science Laboratory’s design is intended to minimize their use and to recycle as much of both energy and water as possible.

Kevin Triplett, AIA, LEED AP – Associate, at Wilson Architects spoke with me about the project planning and energy efficiency:

“Through LEED there is the ASHRAE standards that have been followed, and energy modeling was conducted. We have estimated we will save $300,000 a year in energy costs with the energy efficiency measures we have put in place, and Isokorb® is contributing to this savings.”


Look for the full case reference to be released later this month on our project reference page.


Project Team:

Architect: Wilson Architects

Structural Engineer: RDK Engineers and Lim Consultants

Construction Contractor: Whiting-Turner



*Project information via Facilities Planning Life Science Laboratory.


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