Platinum-certified campus helps explore the deep blue sea
Architectural firm Perkins+Will has designed a new research campus for the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Completed in December, 2012, at a cost of US$31 million, the 54-acre (22-hectare) plot overlooks the ocean in East Boothbay, Maine, and has been awarded LEED Platinum status.
The campus measures 65,000 sq ft (6,000 sq m) and includes a curved collaborative space, dining rooms and meeting rooms, an educational building open to members of the community, and a dormitory and cottages for visiting students and scientists. Additionally, a shore facility also sports research vessels, dive lockers, and small boats.
Perkins+Will installed an efficient method of climate control, based around an Enthalpy wheel (also known as thermal wheel) energy recovery heat exchanger. An Enthalpy wheel consists of a circular honeycomb matrix which takes the heat from a building's ventilation exhaust system and transfers it to incoming air, cutting down on heating needs. The same system can also be used to cool, and thus reduce overall air-conditioning costs significantly.
The firm also adopted a roof-mounted solar array, with accompanying dashboard control, to mitigate electricity needs.
The new research campus enables scientists to work toward understanding the key processes that drive evolution and change in the world's oceans. Particular focus shall be paid to how climate change impacts ocean organisms.
Bigelow currently holds the largest collection of marine phytoplankton, bacteria, and viruses in the entire world, and regularly conducts expeditions to the world's oceans to carry out research.