CNR Achieves LEED Gold on the Morgan Hall Laboratory Renovation. A first for UC Berkeley!

December 14, 2010
The 5,222 square foot renovation provides modern, efficient and sustainable labs that have been certified LEED Gold. The laboratory renovation project, which opened in June of 2010, renovated former office and storage spaces to create modern, efficient and sustainable laboratories for the Department of Nutritional Science & Toxicology. This project took the opportunity as the first green laboratory project on campus to involve students from the service learning class “Building Sustainability @ Cal”. Students prepared a video to educate the building occupants, campus community and public about the environmental aspects of Morgan Hall's new sustainable development, and prepared instructions to teach the lab occupants how to use their new space. Transmitting the green building goals and new behavior practices to the new lab occupants was an essential goal for the student team, as they indicated “After all, expensive infrastructure changes would be meaningless without behavioral changes”.

Not only did students get involved so did alumni. This project would not have come to life without critical private support from CNR’s alumni and friend community. Li-Chiang Chu a graduate of the College who earned her Masters in nutrition in 1967 generously stepped forward as the leadership donor. Li’s gift was in honor of her graduate mentor, Professor Emerita Mary Ann Williams and one of the new laboratories was named after Mary Ann in recognition of her passion for teaching and research, and her generosity in mentoring young faculty and graduate and undergraduate students alike.

The project has been certified LEED Gold, using the LEED Commercial Interiors (CI) standard for renovation projects. This is the first lab renovation on the Berkeley campus to receive this environmentally-friendly distinction, and demonstrates to the campus community that green laboratory design is achievable without sacrifice to scope, schedule or budget. The project has also been recognized as a successful model of energy efficient design at the 2010 Labs 21 Conference and for integrating student involvement into the design and construction process at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, June 2010. The project team was directly involved with the Berkeley mission of teaching and public service, by educating students about green building practices and working with students to develop an educational program for the building occupants.

"Building the first Gold LEED Certified Laboratory on the Berkeley campus is an honor that everyone associated with the College of Natural Resources can celebrate as a tangible demonstration of our college's commitment to sustainability and environmental initiatives”, said Dean J. Keith Gilless. A tremendous amount of work and commitment on the part of students, staff, faculty and alumni involved in the project went into achieving this goal. We could not have done this without the support and passionate commitment of many, many friends and colleagues.”

Morgan Hall is home to the College’s Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology Program which over the last several decades has evolved into a highly sophisticated research enterprise focused on the understanding of nutrient and phytochemical effects, regulation of metabolism, and the impact of diet on health and chronic disease. The two new laboratories will be used for new faculty recruitment efforts for the department.