Utah State University’s USTAR BioInnovations Center is ‘Golden’

Utah State University’s Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) BioInnovations Center, a hub for cutting-edge and collaborative research projects, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Design and construction was led by project managers from the State of Utah Department of Facilities Construction Management (DFCM), Gramoll Construction, AJC Architects and various management and research groups from Utah State University.

“As a LEED Gold certified building, the USTAR BioInnovations Center is among the most sustainable, energy-efficient research centers in the nation,” said Robert T. Behunin, vice president for commercialization and regional development at Utah State University. “The USTAR Center is a tremendous asset for researchers. The state-of-the-art capabilities within the facility have allowed us to leverage our resources to build important partnerships with industry.”

LEED certification requires that a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.

“The efforts of the entire team helped the project achieve 42 points, comfortably above the 39-point threshold for LEED Gold certification,” said Joshua Greene of AJC Architects. “The design achieves almost 48 percent energy savings over the baseline, which is fairly significant for a high-tech lab building that requires 100 percent constant fresh outside air.”

The three-year, $60 million construction project was completed within budget and ahead of schedule. In a further accolade, McGraw Hill’s Engineering News Record – Mountain States Sept. 28 edition named it “Best Overall Project of the Year” in the Utah, Idaho and Montana region. Also, in January 2011, the project was recognized by the Associated General Contractors of Utah (AGC) as its “2010 Building Project of the Year.”

“This project is a great example of the leadership and commitment shown by the State of Utah and Utah State University in promoting energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings,” said Jim Gramoll, president, Gramoll Construction. “The project provided more than 300 construction-related jobs at a time when construction employment in Utah was falling 20 percent.”

The 118,000 square-foot building, dedicated in October 2010, houses highly advanced life-sciences laboratories and provides researchers the resources to seek cures for a range of human and animal diseases. USTAR teams including Applied Nutrition Research, Synthetic BioManufacturing and Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Diseases are occupants of the innovative structure.

The USTAR BioInnovations Center is the first LEED Gold certified building on the Logan campus. Other buildings at Utah State University’s regional campuses, including the Bingham Entrepreneurial and Energy Research Center in Vernal, have been certified as LEED Gold or Platinum.

The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) is a long-term, state-funded investment to strengthen Utah’s “knowledge economy” and generate high-paying jobs. Funded in March 2006 by the state legislature, USTAR is based on three program areas. The first area involves funding for strategic investments at the University of Utah and Utah State University to recruit world-class researchers. The second area is to build state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facilities at these institutions for the innovation teams. The third program area involves teams that work with companies and entrepreneurs across the state to promote science, innovation and commercialization activities.

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