JCVI: Sustainable Lab / Overview
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JCVI La Jolla: Sustainable Laboratory Facility


The scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) are engaged in basic science research that has the potential to change society. One of our quests is to help solve two troubling issues — global climate change and our dependence on hydrocarbons. While doing all we can to find solutions to these issues through our science, we are now building what we believe will be the first carbon-neutral laboratory facility in the world, located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Labs, and in particular genomic-focused ones, traditionally consume large quantities of energy to both run energy intensive scientific equipment and for heating and cooling. The new JCVI building will feature all of the latest design and construction elements to ensure that it will exceed the requirements for LEED Platinum certification. 

Sustainable Strategies


The building massing and envelope have been designed to maximize the use of daylight to improve indoor comfort while further reducing overall building energy use. The building is proposed to be "net-zero" for electrical energy, which means that it will produce as much electricity on-site as it consumes annually. This is possible by integrating numerous energy efficiency measures throughout the building systems, incorporating operable windows, efficient lighting, and by reducing internal plug loads wherever possible. On-site electricity is generated through the sizeable photovoltaic roof.

The team has also pursued strategies to minimize water consumption, as appropriate for the semi-arid environment of San Diego. Rainwater will be collected and stored in a cistern, filtered, and then reused for non-potable uses such as PV washing, cooling tower make-up, and site irrigation. High-efficiency plumbing fixtures will be used and the site will be landscaped with native plants that require minimal irrigation.

Program Flexibility

To support JCVI's research, the laboratories will include all typical wet and dry services found in biology labs. JCVI has taken a flexible approach to the design of these laboratory spaces by incorporating a system for both the laboratory furniture and support infrastructure services which is easily reconfigurable and can accommodate the ever-changing research environment.

The dry laboratory space will also house cutting-edge DNA sequencing equipment and will include a flexible layout comprised of open and enclosed work areas. Administrative areas will consist of offices and open modular seating. The office environment will be arranged in such a manner to support both administrative and research activities, informal meeting areas, and temporary stations for visitors. Meeting areas will also accommodate both large and small groups, and seminar events.

Project Data

J. Craig Venter Institute

ZGF Architects LLP

Integral Group / IDeAs

KPFF Consulting Engineers

Jacobs Consultancy

Andropogon Associate with
David Reed, Landscape Architects

David Nelson & Associates

SC Engineers, Inc.

Sustainable SoCal, Inc.

McCarthy Building Companies