Iowa State University’s new Biorenewables Research Laboratory (BRL), formally dedicated on September 17, establishes a visible “front door” to the university’s diverse and broad-reaching programs in biorenewables. Construction of the environmentally friendly building, located on the west side of campus between the College of Design and Howe Hall, was made possible through a $32 million appropriation from the State of Iowa.
The BRL complements and replaces labs and offices previously located across the Iowa State campus and provides affiliated faculty and staff a physical environment that promotes interdisciplinary, systems-level research and collaboration. It houses the administrative offices and research labs of the Bioeconomy Institute, the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals and the Biobased Industry Center.
“The Biorenewables Research Laboratory is a critical new facility in the College of Engineering and for the entire Iowa State campus,” according to Jonathan Wickert, dean of the College of Engineering. ”There is research being conducted there that will revolutionize the way fuels are produced, revolutionize agriculture, address climate change, and the production of industrial chemicals.”
The facility has achieved LEED-Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. The “green” aspects of the building include ample natural lighting, rain water recovery and reuse, a chilled beam cooling system, doors and cabinetry made from bamboo, a partially vegetated roof, and landscaping that includes native plantings and biomass crops specimens such as switchgrass.
The BRL building completes Phase I of the university’s two-phase, $107.1 million Biorenewables Complex. Phase II, which will be funded through a combination of state appropriations and private gifts, will add two buildings to the site and provide a new home for Iowa State’s top-ranked department of agricultural and biosystems engineering.
Tonia McCarley, NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, (515) 294-8549
Dave Gieseke, ISU Foundation Communications, (515) 294-7263
Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917