University of California, Berkeley

Energy Biosciences Building Features Energy-Efficient Windows

by Steve Gille, education market manager, Wausau Window and Wall Systems

From Architectural West Jan/Feb ’13

The University of California at Berkeley’s newly opened Energy Biosciences Building is the most energy-efficient building on campus, thanks in part to window systems from Wausau Window and Wall Systems.  The 112,000-sq.ft. Energy Biosciences Building, formerly Helios Energy Research Facility and commonly referred to as the Helios building, houses UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute, a collaborative project between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, and the University of Illinois.

         According to lead architect, Johnny Wong, SmithGroup JJR, San Francisco, California, the Helios building was designed and constructed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) LEED Silver criteria or higher.  The building already has received the Overall Sustainable Design Award by the Higher Education Energy Partnership Program of California.

         Located at the sloped site on the northwest corner of the university’s 1,232-acre campus, the Helios building rises to six floors on the northern end and five on the south, tapering to three levels and then one at the southernmost end.  The $133 million Helios building began with the demolition of an abandoned state health building in 2009.  Construction was substantially completed in July, 2012.  The first of more than 300 researchers moved into the new facility in August, 2012.

         To accomplish the design and daylighting goals, general contractor, Rudolph and Sletten, Redwood City, Calif., worked closely with glazing contractors, Royal Glass, Rancho Cordova, Calif., and Wausau.  The Helios building’s wedge-shaped design and divergent ceiling heights capitalize on Wausau’s high-performance curtainwall and windows, allowing the natural light to deeply penetrate into the interior space.  In total, Royal Glass installed approximately 40 casement windows on the north elevation and 29,000 sq.ft. of unitized, structurally glazed, curtainwall on the south-facing offices, meeting space, and entry lobby.

         “Wausau is a true partner in every sense of the word,” says Steve Kilekas, senior project manager for Royal Glass.  “Whether it’s their exceptional design capabilities, high-quality products and materials, or project management support, Wausau does everything possible to ensure a flawless experience.  As a project manager, that is something that has tremendous value.”

         Optimized for energy efficiency, Wausau’s 7250i-UW Series unitized curtainwall features an aluminum frame with polyamide nylon structural barrier for enhanced thermal performance.  The system is engineered and manufactured in ready-to-install units that vertically span floor-to-floor.  This approach also reduces dependence on weather seals and accommodates dynamic movements without placing undue stress on glass, sealants, or other infills.

         Wausau curtainwall and windows’ aluminum frames contain recycled content averaging 70% or greater.  Linetec, Wausau, Wisc., supplied the polyamide thermal barriers and three-coated painted finish.  Viracon, Owatonna, Minn., fabricated the glass.  The combination of these high-performance components and construction allow Wausau’s 4250 Series zero sightline fixed-casement windows to achieve a Condensation Resistance Factor (CRF) range from 44 to 55 and NFRC U-Factors as low as 0.35.  NFRC 100 “Site-Built” certification was obtained in accordance with the energy-efficiency provisions required by the California Code of Regulations’ 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, known as Title 24.  The 2013 Standards are expected to ensure new and existing buildings use 25% less energy for lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation than the 2008 Standards.  Furthermore, California’s 2013 Standards are intended to avoid 170,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

         Along with consideration for the global environment, UC Berkeley’s Helios building also emphasizes a comfortable and productive interior environment.  The windows’ acoustic performance is tested for Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings of 34 to 43.  These performance factors were key for Helios’ north side, which houses specialized analytical research laboratories, laboratory support space, offices, and other support functions designed by laboratory design consultant, Research Facilities Design, San Diego, Calif.

         In addition to the thermal and acoustical performance, condensation resistance, recycled content, daylight, and view offered by Wausau’s curtainwall and windows, the Helios building’s other sustainable design features include:  automated shades programmed to activate based upon the sun’s path; a lighting control system with sensors to turn lights off when people are absent and during off-hours; sash closers on the 50 laboratory fume hoods with sensors that control access, reducing stress on the HVAC system; a new air exchange system that automatically adjusts fan activity based upon occupation in the space; individual office air system, heating, and cooling controls; and low-flow faucets and fixtures.

         Helping connect occupants with their natural environment and community, the Helios building also offers neighbors a public park-like area to the south, a wide pedestrian pathway to the west, and a commuter transit hub located on the building’s east side to shuttle visitors to and from the UC Berkeley campus.

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