The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory has awarded a contract to a general contractor for the construction of a new $66.8 million Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB), a state-of-the-art facility that will bring together scientists focused on the nation’s most pressing challenge of the 21st century — energy. E.W. Howell, based in Plainview, NY, has been chosen to build the 87,000 gross-square-foot, 2-story building.
The company estimates that the project will provide jobs for 290-320 Long Islanders. Additionally, it estimates that about 90 percent of the $46 million construction cost will be spent directly with Long Island contractors and suppliers.
Site preparation is substantially complete, ahead of the building construction contract, thanks to $18.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding dedicated to accelerating the construction phase of the project. Groundbreaking is expected in August 2010, with construction set to begin in September 2010.
“The award of this contract marks a significant milestone in our effort to consolidate our considerable expertise in energy-related research with the goal of finding sustainable solutions for meeting our nation’s growing energy needs,” said Doon Gibbs, Deputy Director for Science and Technology at Brookhaven Lab. The new facility will group existing energy scientists into one facility with collaborative environments to facilitate and realize the benefits of multi-disciplinary collaboration. “By bringing together a broad spectrum of energy-related researchers in a single location, the ISB will foster energy research that spans discovery through deployment. It will also serve as a portal for collaboration with industry, universities, and other national laboratories,” Gibbs said.
A particular research focus at the ISB will be developing effective uses of renewable energy through improved conversion, transmission, and storage, with applications in the smart grid, batteries, and photovoltaics. As materials are the linchpin to energy technologies, the ISB will consolidate Brookhaven’s efforts in the synthesis and detailed characterization of bulk, thin-film, and nano-materials and in device fabrication.
These efforts will be supported by an outstanding set of complementary tools at the Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), the New York Blue supercomputer, and at the future NSLS-II. There will also be important collaborations with Stony Brook University’s Advanced Energy Center and other assets within New York State.
The ISB will itself be a new energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable laboratory building, providing high-accuracy laboratories, offices and support functions. The building will incorporate design features such as vibration isolation and shielding from electromagnetic interference to accommodate the sensitivity of instruments and processes.
E.W. Howell also served as general contractor for two other recent major construction projects at Brookhaven Lab: the 65,000 square-foot Research Support Building, completed in 2006, and the 94,500 square-foot Center for Functional Nanomaterials, completed in 2007. Both buildings have been awarded a LEED silver rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, which evaluates buildings for sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental qualities. The new ISB will be built with the aim of achieving a LEED gold rating.
The ISB is funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.