A Big Move
Created in 2000, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tasked with promoting technological advances and national security in the field of military nuclear science. The NNSA’s primary responsibility is the security and maintenance of the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile, but it also works with universities, corporations, and laboratories around the country on a wide range of nuclear research and development projects.
In an effort to modernize the DOE’s facilities devoted to NNSA operations, a new National Security Campus (NSC) was planned to replace the aging and outdated facilities at the Bannister Federal Complex with an overall goal of reducing waste and inefficiencies while saving taxpayers $100 million annually.
The upgrade would be no small feat, though. Not only would the project involve constructing nearly 1.6 million square feet of new office, warehouse, manufacturing and lab space, it would also be built in accordance with LEED™ Gold Certification. In addition, the NSC had to be completed on time to facilitate a complex logistics operation highlighted by the transfer of over 2,000 employees and 3,000 truckloads of equipment from the old complex to the new NNSA campus.
Environmentally Responsible Results
Completed in 2012, the new NSC is a 180-acre campus that features a modern office complex, a cutting edge data center, and three vast manufacturing facilities that house specialized materials production space; testing and inspection areas; packaging and warehouse storage; as well as a combined 150,000-square-feet of cleanroom space for the assembly and testing of a variety of advanced components.
J.E. Dunn served as the general contractor for the project, and HNTB served as the primary architecture team. Both worked diligently throughout the entire project to save energy and eliminate waste both during the construction process and after the campus was operational.
Designed from the beginning to be LEED Gold certified, the complex features a number of environmentally friendly and energy saving features such as sustainably harvested wood products, a solar reflecting roof covering, advanced lighting and thermal controls, highly-efficient plumbing fixtures, and insulated concrete building envelopes.
Thermomass-insulated precast panels were selected for the project for a number of reasons. First, Thermomass System SC provides a highly energy efficient core for the precast concrete panels – an essential component in building LEED certified projects and an integral strategy of the NNSA’s plan to cut energy costs by 50%.
In addition, the integral insulation of concrete sandwich walls allows both surfaces of concrete to remain free for any number of natural finishes. In fact, many of the NSC’s walls surfaces are left bare to both convey a sense of structure and to eliminate any needless wall treatments that would only increase the massive project’s budget.
Finally, concrete’s proven durability was a natural fit for the many warehouse, manufacturing, and laboratory spaces where industrial processes and heavy machinery can often quickly deteriorate post-applied insulation and other surface treatments. Thermomass insulation is cast into the middle of the wall panel, safe from decades of potential wear and tear.