Articles Tagged with: WID

The Emerging Open Scientific Environment

Ballinger Principals Jeffrey S. French, FAIA and Craig S. Spangler, AIA participated in Tradeline’s College and University Science and Engineering Facilities 2016 Conference. Their presentation “The Emerging Open Scientific Environment: Challenges, Solutions, and Lessons Learned” examined Ballinger’s recent and ongoing science and engineering projects at Swarthmore College, the University of Wisconsin, the George Washington University, and Rutgers University.

Ballinger Celebrates Earth Day and A Sustainable Practice

Environmental stewardship is an enduring core value of our practice. As an integrated architectural and engineering practice, we view sustainability and design as inseparable. We seek collaborations with our clients to collectively inspire sustainable innovations. Many of our projects are seeking or have achieved certification via the U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating program. Ballinger was recently named Green Partner of the Year by Johns Hopkins University for the design of a new science teaching building that is anticipating LEED Platinum Certification. Our LEED Gold science building at Furman University was honored with an AIA Committee on the Environment Award for its innovative sustainability approaches.  The USGBC bestowed not only LEED Gold certification upon our Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, but also its annual Innovation in Green Building of the Year Award. These significant acknowledgements of innovation honor our commitment as a firm to the environment and to our client stewardship.

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Location: Madison WI, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Location: Madison WI, Architect: Ballinger Architects

We approach sustainability in a holistic manner and seek synergistic solutions between the various components of the design, integrating architecture and landscape with high performance systems.  All recommendations are evaluated against the return on investment and take into account the ongoing challenges of operating and maintaining building systems with limited staff and reduced operational budgets.  It is also important to establish goals that are not only qualitative, such as the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), but also quantitative.

These goals can include:

  • Set Performance Targets for Annual Energy Usage and Annual Water Usage
  • Target significant reduction below ASHRAE 90.1 requirements and annual BTU/gsf benchmarks
  • Create incentive and awareness programs
  • Institute programs that help create awareness of the impact that the occupants have on the energy use of the building, and formulate incentives that motivate the users to perform in an energy conscious manner
  • Identify opportunities to use new buildings or site interventions as potential didactic tools for sustainable practices

High Performance Science Buildings

While academic buildings may reach a 100+ year life cycle, the mechanical and electrical systems generally require significant renewal every 20 to 30 years.  This is especially important in science and engineering buildings, as they must accommodate ever-changing technologies for analysis, computation, experimentation, fabrication, etc.  Our approach, in both new and renovation work, is to design a core infrastructure that can accommodate a wide range of possible fit-outs as programs evolve, and which can be replaced at the end of a life cycle without major building modification.

Create a building that minimizes systems demands / requirements:

To minimize energy demands, we address the following principles in our design process:

  • Optimize daylighting while minimizing solar gain in cooling season and utilizing solar gain in heating season.
  • Minimize energy loss through high performance wall, roof and glazing assemblies.
  • Consider natural ventilation, or hybrid ventilation, especially for public spaces that can be transitional between outdoor and indoor environments.
New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition & Health at Rutgers College: New Brunswick, NJ, Architect: Ballinger Architects

New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition & Health at Rutgers College: New Brunswick, NJ, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Maximize flexibility to accommodate convergent science and engineering:

Systems must be able to easily accommodate intertwined lab/classroom, dry/wet, macro/micro, chemical/biological, science/engineering, multi-discipline collaboration, and student projects.

Make systems adaptable to ever changing science and technology while minimizing preinvestment: 

Providing pathways for future services and space for future equipment may be more prudent than preinvesting in equipment and capacities that may not be utilized in the initial building program.

Minimize resource impact – minimize use of energy and water:

The absolute minimal impact is a net zero energy use building.  This is an aspirational goal for office buildings that can be evaluated during the project formation process.  If net zero is not immediately achievable as is the case presently for most science and healthcare projects, its eventual fulfillment can considered for future implementation.  Water use can be minimized with storm water reclamation for mechanical makeup – to chiller plant cooling towers, toilet flushing and irrigation.  Energy use can be mitigated through alternative ventilation strategies and high performance enclosures.

Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University: Washington, DC, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University: Washington, DC, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Make systems choices that are cost effective:

Both first cost and life cycle costs are important system evaluation criteria.   We will evaluate utility and other operating costs, as well as first costs and replacement costs.


Set energy goals early in the design process:

Using the latest in energy modeling software (IES) which works from a graphic interface (Sketch Up, Rhino or REVIT), we will set up a preliminary simplified energy model at the earliest phase of design to set energy goals and for comparison to recent benchmarks.  We also model highest performance “toward net zero” scenario, which will include all possible energy reduction strategies including natural/hybrid ventilation, active/passive shading, active/passive chilled beams, ground source heating/cooling, etc.  Using progressively more detailed modeling, we will evaluate particular strategies across the range of performance and cost criteria. These will coincide with key milestones for timely decision making as the design evolves.

At Ballinger, we believe that sustainable concepts and systems efficiency are integral to the design process. Happy Earth Day! 

The New Research Facility Value Metrics: Interaction, Sustainability, Project Quality

At the 2013 Tradeline International Conference on Research Facilities, Principals Bill Gustafson, FAIA, Jonathan, PE, LEED AP, and Associate Principal Steve Bartlett, AIA, presented on emerging performance metrics for science and engineering research. An overview of the presentation is as follows:

Building performance measures have been slowly evolving. Efforts to modify these metrics have largely been hidden from view. This talk seeks to fill this intellectual void by exploring three different aspects of building performance:

  • How far can the traditional metrics take us?
  • What should a human factor model of performance be?
  • What are the potentials to go beyond LEED in terms of technology performance.

The premise of this talk is a building performance dashboard that combines these three elements to create a more balanced view of a building. Underlying this model must be post occupancy evaluations that go back to validate the original premises. The 2012 lab of the Year will provide just such a test case.

Link to Presentation

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery named 2012 Lab of the Year

R&D Magazine has bestowed this year’s annual Lab of the Year award upon the Ballinger-designed Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. This prestigious awards program is an international competition recognizing excellence in laboratory design. Situated at the heart of the University of Wisonsin-Madison campus, this unique 330,000 SF biomedical research facility is home to twin institutes, the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and the public Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. To engage both the local and campus community with the science happening in the building, an unusually large part of the program is dedicated to public activity. A ground floor Town Center serves as a civic science place and a living room for the surrounding science and engineering campus quadrant. The secure research floors located above the public realm embrace the concepts of transparency and openness to promote interaction, collaboration and discovery within the lab environment.

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Ballinger Senior Principals Present Successful Models for Co-Locating Science + Engineering Programs

At Tradeline’s 23rd Annual College and University Science Facilities Conference, Senior Principals Bill Gustafson, FAIA, Craig S. Spangler, AIA, and Jeffrey French, FAIA presented recent trends in science and engineering facilities. They reviewed a series of recent projects that reflect three planning trends: the research / teaching neighborhood, the emphasis on collaborative spaces, and the disappearance of boundaries both physical and psychological. The underlying principles that drive these trends are measurable: higher utilization of space, higher research productivity, and greater emphasis on shared resources, both space and equipment. Ballinger provided university leaders with measurable benchmarks for these complex phenomena.

Tradeline is an industry resource that presents high level conferences focused on the latest planning, design, operations and financial thinking for the built environment. This year’s College and University Science Facilities conference was held in Scottsdale, AZ.

Link to Presentation