Smithsonian building $45 million green lab

May 25, 2011

Thanks to a $45 million federal appropriation to the Smithsonian Institution, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md., has broken ground on what is expected to be one of the most energy-efficient laboratories in the country.

Analysts estimate the 69,000-sf lab will use 37% less energy and emit 37% less carbon dioxide than a similar building that only meets minimum requirements for LEED certification. This project is targeting LEED Gold certification.

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Source: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center


Comments on: "Smithsonian building $45 million green lab"


Lab Cost Comment

LEED certification is a great symbolic gesture, but the new lab and renovation of existing facilities will cost approximately $500.00/sq.ft. to build. Typical building costs are $100-$200/sq.ft., and achieve more than acceptable energy useage efficiencies. The question arises; what is the pay-out for this structure, in terms of LEED certification standards versus non-LEED standards, or maybe a better question, does it ever pay off in energy savings versus up-front construction costs?