As visitors explore the facility, many of the systems that make the building so efficient won't be visible, but here are some of the energy and sustainability features that are designed to ensure it is the highest-performing building on campus:
Heating and Cooling: Water has 1,000 times the capacity to heat or cool compared to air so it is used throughout the building to keep occupants comfortable. Beneath the granite of the Atrium floor, a radiant flooring system pumps water through a series of tubes, providing a highly efficient means of regulating room temperature by circulating warm water to heat and cold water to cool the space. On the second and third floors, you'll find radiant ceiling panels in workspaces and radiant sails in the labs. Both sails and panels radiate heat or cold through their surfaces, which are typically quite large, thereby providing uniform cooling heating. On the back side of the panel are copper tubes that carry the water and are in contact with the front surface.
Super-Efficient Operable Windows: A cornerstone to the building's ability to minimize the need for artificial lighting, cooling, and heating are its windows. Each of the office windows has triple pane glass which means you can sit by them in the winter and feel comfortable since there are no drafts and no feeling of cold radiating towards you. Many of the windows can be opened by the building's energy management system to enhance natural ventilation and bring in cool dry air when appropriate.
Heat Recovery Technology: All buildings must bring in fresh air to maintain a healthy environment for their occupants. In the Institute building, stale, warm air passes through a heat exchanger that warms up the colder fresh air from outside. Doing so can recover a large fraction of the energy that would normally be lost if the air from inside were directly vented to the outside. Similarly in the summer, the cool stale indoor air exchanges its cold with warm, moist air making the incoming air cooler and dryer.
Rooftop Solar Panels: In the next phase of the project, photovoltaic panels will be installed on the building's roof to help power the building residents' work and reduce the building's overall carbon footprint. Roughly 90 kilowatts of solar panels will generate enough electricity to provide a large fraction of the building's power needs and will do so for the next 25 years.