University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Genome Sciences Building

Sustainable research building joins the UNC campus.

AEI helped the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill achieve their goal to reduce energy use while supporting specialized environments for life science, genomics, and synthetic chemistry research in the new Genome Sciences Building (GSB). These sustainable goals were met by implementing chilled beams and the use of glycol heat recovery.


Chapel Hill, NC


  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP - Architect

LEED Status


Building Size

228,000 square feet


  • 2013 Thomas Edison Award for Sustainability - North Carolina Chapter
  • Award of Merit, Schools over $50 million

Unique energy-efficient features as such glycol heat recovery, and chilled beams in the labs, equipment rooms, robotic rooms, and the freezer farms.

The facility houses nine large research lab pods. Each pod consists of a large open lab, lab support, lab write-up, and private offices. The building also has shared core lab facilities for microscopy, robotics, crystallography, and bioinformatics. Additionally, the GSB add significant classroom facilities to the campus, including a 450-seat lecture hall, 250-seat lecture hall, an 80-seat seminar room, and five 35-seat classrooms.

LED growth lights used in the plant growth rooms reduce the heat output and the energy required to cool the space. The area requires 65 air changes per hour with traditional growth lighting. These plant growth rooms have sidewall laminar throw plenums that move the air across the stacked plant trays horizontally instead of vertically.

Project Leaders