Montclair State University’s First Research Facility Receives LEED Gold Certification

| May 2, 2017

The S/L/A/M Collaborative Architects

Montclair, NJ – Designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative, the Center for Environmental & Life Sciences (CELS), a 100,000sf building at Montclair State University, has received LEED Gold certification.

Montclair State University Center for Environmental & Life Sciences /photo Mike Peters ©

Laboratory buildings have historically been enormous energy users. To reduce this concern, this project uses a multimode mechanical system separating classroom, lecture hall, and general-space conditioning with chilled beams coupled with heat-recovery enthalpy wheels.

The laboratories utilize variable air volume (VAV) terminal units and VAV fume hoods with glycol loop heat recovery that avoids any chance of cross contamination. The lighting for the project incorporates task lighting, scene controllers, and occupancy sensors for classrooms, conference rooms, and open plan workstations as another strategy for saving energy and to give occupants better control. The occupancy sensors can also detect CO2 levels and communicate with the mechanical system to bring in more fresh air.

Montclair State University Center for Environmental & Life Sciences green roof / photo Mike Peters ©

Other sustainable features incorporated include: 40% water use was reduced by utilizing low-flow toilets, urinals, and faucets; 78% of the construction waste was diverted from a landfill; 37% of materials in the building were made from recycled materials; 25% of the materials were sourced within 500 miles of the project site; 57% of the wood used in the project was derived from sustainable sourced forests (meeting Forest Stewardship Council requirements); and low emitting materials used for the paints, adhesives, carpets, and composite woods help to remove that toxic “new car smell” often associated with new buildings.


Montclair State University Center for Environmental & Life Sciences/photo Mike Peters ©

One of the building’s most scenic features is the green roof above the second floor that is used as a study site and retreat. Green roofs are encouraged by LEED as an approach to cool the building and to better retain stormwater. The green roof helps extend the life of the roofing membrane, provides energy savings, and creates valuable public green space. It also provides students with a unique place to conduct studies and experiments. The advantage of the green roof includes extending the green space of the campus, reducing heat transfer through the roof, improving energy efficiency, limiting rainwater surges, serving as an outdoor classroom, and providing an entertainment venue.


The building is also being used as a teaching tool, with the building included in the development of a scrolling power point that can be displayed online, and used as the basis of tour information and brochures. LCD displays are provided in the building describing the green features of the project and their environmental benefits. The University maintains a website on sustainability where general, campus, and project specific information can be posted for students, staff and the public.

Completed in 2015, CELS, the first major research facility to be built on the Montclair campus, serves as the home for the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and houses multiple CSAM Centers & Institutes. The new center provides academic and research space along with associated development. CELS plays a pivotal role in conducting research that leads to innovative environmental solutions, and prepares scientists and professionals to address New Jersey’s economic and ecological impacts from global climate change.

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