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November 30, 2018
NIEHS Warehouse Earns ‘Platinum’ Rating
Dr. Tracy Gaudet
Solar panels generate electricity, rows of translucent panels admit light to the warehouse and exhaust fans ventilate the warehouse space.

Inside, ample natural light reduces use of electric lights. The tall shelf design provides space to accommodate secure computer setup and storage.
Inside, ample natural light reduces use of electric lights. The tall shelf design provides space to accommodate secure computer setup and storage.

PHOTOS: STEVE MCCAW

On Oct. 9, the new NIEHS warehouse was certified as LEED Platinum, which is the highest-level recognition for overall sustainability. The facility is the first government-owned building within the Department of Health and Human Services to earn the rating. The warehouse, which has been recognized by other groups as well, lived up to its name as the NIEHS Net Zero Energy Warehouse by generating 38 percent more energy than it used during the first year of occupancy.

The design-build contract required LEED Gold, yet NIEHS and the Office of Research Facilities partnered with the designers and builders to aim for Platinum certification. This meant using healthy and sustainable design, along with green construction practices such as incorporating recycled material, using rapidly renewable and local materials, optimizing energy and water conservation and protecting wildlife habitat.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, awarded by the United States Green Building Council, is the most widely recognized system for evaluating overall sustainability.

The new building and its site also offer security advantages over previous NIEHS warehouse arrangements. With a separate entrance from the main campus, the location minimizes the number of large commercial vehicles that can gain access to locations on the greater campus.

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