JCVI La Jolla: Sustainable Laboratory Facility

A Seamless Integration of Scientific Vision, Purpose and Technology

JCVI’s commitment to environmental stewardship inspired the design and construction of our West Coast home: a unique, LEED Platinum biological laboratory building that generates almost all of the energy it consumes from the solar panels on its roof.

Located on the campus of the UC San Diego, JCVI La Jolla contains some of the most innovative water and energy-efficient systems available, and, most importantly, is serving as a model for sustainable research buildings worldwide.

JCVI La Jolla

Project Data

OWNER
J. Craig Venter Institute

ARCHITECT / INTERIOR DESIGNER
ZGF Architects LLP

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

M/E/P ENGINEER
Integral Group and Peter Rumsey PE

LIGHTING DESIGNER
David Nelson & Associates

STRUCTURAL AND CIVIL ENGINEER
KPFF Consulting Engineers

LABORATORY PLANNER
Jacobs Consultancy

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Andropogon Associate with 
David Reed, Landscape Architects

BUILDING CONTROLSSC Engineers, Inc.

CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
Sustainable SoCal, Inc.

PHOTOGRAPHERS
Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing
Tim Griffith © Tim Griffith

BOOKLET DESIGN
ZGF Architects LLP

Sustainability — Pushing the Boundaries of Energy Efficient Design

As one of the greenest buildings in the country, the new facility is designed to achieve LEED-Platinum certification with a near net-zero energy footprint. Two arrays, comprising 26,124 SF of photovoltaic surface across 1,488 Sunpower E20 / 327 panels, were designed to meet the building demand over the timeframe of a year—the first biological laboratory in the world to attempt this.

Building occupants are responsible for reducing plug loads by 31% to achieve this goal. In terms of light energy, sensors detect when artificial lighting is required, but variable brightness settings ensure that no more lighting is provided than required.

Instead of using air-cooling, the laboratory freezers use a more efficient water-cooled system that consumes less energy. Induction diffusers (active chilled beams) deliver minimum air change rates to meet Environmental Health & Safety requirements for laboratories and offices, but they also have a heating / cooling coil that delivers either hot water or cool water to heat or cool the building, eliminating any re-heating of the air supply.

Virtually all site rainwater and air handler condensate is collected into three interconnected cisterns, and then UV-filtered and recycled for non-potable water functions within the building, which is expected to reduce the building’s domestic water demand by 70 percent. Native low-water landscaping and terrace gardens help collect rainwater and keep the building naturally cooler.

legend


HVAC Systems

Cooling

Thermal Storage Tank Charging

1 The cooling tower (open loop system) generates cool water at night, which is supplied to the heat exchanger. 2 Heat from the building is carried back to the cooling tower through the heat exchanger. 3 Cool water (closed loop system) from the heat exchanger is used to charge the thermal storage tanks. 4 If tank temperature is not satisfied in the early morning (typically, only during hot summer periods), chiller can be used to charge the thermal storage tanks. 5 Heat from chiller operation is carried back to the cooling tower.

Thermal Storage Tank Discharging

6 During the day, cool water is drawn off the cool side of the thermal storage tanks for use in cooling the building by supplying the air handlers and induction diffusers. 7 Heat removed from the building is returned to the warm side of the thermal storage tanks.

This allows for cooling of the building during the winter months and most of the shoulder months of the year with minimal operation of the chiller.

cooling system

Heating

1 Warm water from the thermal energy storage tank goes to the heat pump to provide heating. 2 Heated hot water goes to the air handling units and the induction diffusers and provides a heat source for domestic and industrial water systems. 3 Cold water by-product from the heat pump goes back to the cold side of the thermal energy storage tank. 4 Cold water by-product from the induction diffusers and the air handling units go back to the heat pump to be reheated.

heating system


Variable Laboratory Air Changes

Reducing energy is only one feature of the JCVI mechanical system. Through the use of induction diffusers and an air monitoring system, laboratories are provided with 4 to 6 air changes when spaces are occupied, with the capacity to “ramp up” individual laboratories in the event of a spill. The minimum is 2 air changes for unoccupied times. In addition to energy savings and laboratory safety, the laboratories are quieter and more comfortable for the occupants than traditional laboratory HVAC systems.

variable laboratory air changes


Building Intelligence

The building systems were tied together through a unique intelligent building interface. With this the operations team can troubleshoot and optimize the building with a single user-friendly interface.

building intelligence


Water Conservation

A complex water-balancing model was developed to understand the quantities, frequency, and demand times of water use. The result is a system that uses rain and recycled water, when available, for everything except potable water uses. Plans for a greywater connection to the building (purple pipe) have also been established to allow for use of reclaimed water in the future.

water conservation

JCVI La Jolla

Project Data

OWNER
J. Craig Venter Institute

ARCHITECT / INTERIOR DESIGNER
ZGF Architects LLP

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

M/E/P ENGINEER
Integral Group and Peter Rumsey PE

LIGHTING DESIGNER
David Nelson & Associates

STRUCTURAL AND CIVIL ENGINEER
KPFF Consulting Engineers

LABORATORY PLANNER
Jacobs Consultancy

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Andropogon Associate with 
David Reed, Landscape Architects

BUILDING CONTROLSSC Engineers, Inc.

CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
Sustainable SoCal, Inc.

PHOTOGRAPHERS
Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing
Tim Griffith © Tim Griffith

BOOKLET DESIGN
ZGF Architects LLP

Videos

Pursuing a Net-Zero Energy Laboratory

San Diego Green Building Council Education Series

Project Intent

Design

Water Efficiency & Diagram Explanations

Measurement, Plug Loads and Freezers

HVAC Cooling & Heating Diagram Explanation

Materials

Chilled Beams & Laboratory Air Flow

Office Ventilation & Occupant Participation

See the entrire USGBC series.

JCVI La Jolla Construction Time-Lapse

JCVI La Jolla

Project Data

OWNER
J. Craig Venter Institute

ARCHITECT / INTERIOR DESIGNER
ZGF Architects LLP

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

M/E/P ENGINEER
Integral Group and Peter Rumsey PE

LIGHTING DESIGNER
David Nelson & Associates

STRUCTURAL AND CIVIL ENGINEER
KPFF Consulting Engineers

LABORATORY PLANNER
Jacobs Consultancy

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Andropogon Associate with 
David Reed, Landscape Architects

BUILDING CONTROLSSC Engineers, Inc.

CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
Sustainable SoCal, Inc.

PHOTOGRAPHERS
Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing
Tim Griffith © Tim Griffith

BOOKLET DESIGN
ZGF Architects LLP

Naming Opportunities

Science that is truly at the cutting edge requires state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Your named gift will allow our researchers to continue transcending scientific boundaries by providing new equipment, supporting a scientist, or expanding a lab.

To learn more about how to leave a named legacy please contact Jill Mullen at jmullen@jcvi.org.

J. Craig Venter Institute is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions to J. Craig Venter Institute are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. J. Craig Venter Institute’s tax identification number is 52-1842938.

2016 Top Ten Green Projects Award, The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE)


2016 Leadership Award, Forest Stewardship Council US


2015 Calibre Award, International Interior Design Association, Southern California


2015 Architecture + Sustainability People’s Choice Award, Architizer A+ Awards


2015 Orchid Award for Architecture, San Diego Architectural Foundation


2014 American Architecture Design Award, awarded by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies


2014 California’s Best Projects, “Green Projects” Award of Merit, awarded by Engineering News Record magazine


2014 Architectural Award of Excellence “Beyond L.A. Award,” awarded by the Los Angeles Business Council


2014 Digie Award for Most Intelligent Building, awarded by Realcomm


2014 Design Award, American Institute of Architects, San Diego


2014 Architectural Award, American Concrete Institute, San Diego