J. Bennett Johnston Hall Renovation, Tulane University

The Tulane JBJ laboratory project provides a compelling illustration that it’s possible through renovation to achieve huge energy savings while promoting a more humane and collaborative environment for occupants. This 63,000sf project transforms 3 floors of an existing building configured in traditional closed, windowless, cellular labs to open, daylit “ballroom” labs with supporting office and collaboration spaces.  The design underwent the stringent review process of the National Institutes of Health, in a collaborative approach that even resulted in the updating of the NIH Design Requirements Manual to reflect advances in lab lighting design.  Lab benches are modular, movable, and reconfigurable at will, with flexible “plug-and-play” quick-connect services supplied from above. Existing glazing was replaced with high-performance, hurricane resistant glazing with automated motorized solar control strategies. Using advanced lighting and ventilation techniques, modeled energy use was reduced to 1/3 that of the national average for lab/office spaces. Floor-by-floor dashboards provide user feedback, with ongoing monitoring indicating that project energy savings are being achieved. The project is also designed with resilience in mind, where laboratory samples are consolidated to “lifeboat” freezer farms with independent emergency power and cooling, so that research work is preserved during hurricane evacuations.  The project achieved LEED Gold Certification on a modest budget (construction cost $10M).  The scientist leading the user group remarked after completion that “It’s exactly the vision I had in mind, without knowing I had it.”

Performance Metrics

  • 274 kBtu/sf-yr  Measured during occupancy 
  • 370 kBtu/sf-yr  Measured EUI typical of this building type & size 
  • 26%  Measured vs typical of this building type & size 
  • 121 kBtu/sf-yr  Model prediction: As designed

Post Occupancy Case Study

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Map This Location
Size: 63,000 square feet
Year of Completion: 2013
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