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Simpson Querrey Building Exterior

Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center Earns LEED Gold Certification

The Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, which opened in June 2019, has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The facility is the largest biomedical academic research building in U.S. The modern 629,000-square foot, nine-story building is part of the Feinberg School of Medicine, and new home for innovative and groundbreaking biomedical research on Northwestern University’s Chicago medical campus. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a USGBC program that recognizes building designs that are resource efficient and cost effective while providing a healthier and greener lifestyle for building occupants. 
“It was our goal from day one that Simpson Querrey achieve LEED certification,” said Project Manager Jay Baehr. “It took a team effort among Northwestern’s designers, architects, and construction teams and this achievement further exemplifies Northwestern’s continued commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.”  
One of the unique energy conservation challenges lab buildings present is maintaining a proper indoor air quality environment for experiments while still reducing energy intensity. Baehr noted that one way the team accomplishes this goal is through the use of a chilled-beam  cooling system, which uses water as the primary cooling method versus the less efficient use of air. In order to provide adequate ventilation with the chilled beam system, an Aircuity sensing system was also installed to detect spillage or toxins and adjust airflow to maintain proper indoor air quality. 
Other building sustainability features include: 
  • Green roof landscaping—featured on over 50% of the roof—reduces urban Heat Island Effect
  • While not a LEED requirement, blue roof systems collect storm water which is reused for irrigation and building industrial purposes. 
  • A double-skin south-facing facade both offsets heat gain and reduces glare at perimeter workspaces. 
  • Integrated cavity blinds and window shades are deployed automatically based on light conditions. 
  • Use of energy recovery wheels in laboratory exhaust. 
  • Use of efficient water fixtures.  
  • Use of certified wood, regional materials, and recycled materials in construction.  
  • More than 90% of the waste in construction was diverted from the landfill. 

As a result of many of these sustainability features, Simpson Querrey’s total annual energy savings are estimated to be ~$800k or 15.5 million kWh, equivalent to removing more than 2,300 cars from the road each year. 
On the importance of implementing LEED standards, Baehr said, “In reality, it not only creates a greener environment for building occupants, it saves building operation costs. By designing the building to reduce energy loads, you’re saving University resources.” 

Read more about our other LEED certified buildings.