Chicago Botanic Garden

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, Design

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, Design - Glencoe, IL


The Plant Conservation Science Center, a new laboratory building, is located on the 15-acre science campus at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The center will house world-class research facilities where scientists will study endangered plants, mobilize that knowledge into action, and train plant conservation leaders.

G/BA provided mechanical and plumbing/fire protection design services. We prepared an energy model to assist in design decisions affecting building energy consumption and to document conformance with LEED requirements.

This project, which has been certified LEED Gold, was selected as Laboratory of the Year in 2010 by R&D Magazine. Additional information and photos on the website of the architect, Booth Hansen. Additional team members included Dickerson Engineering (electrical), Rocky Mountain Institute (environmental consultant), and Featherstone Inc. (construction manager).


Source Award
R&D Magazine 2010 Laboratory of the Year
ASHRAE Illinois Chapter 2009 Excellence in Engineering Award


  • Two 30,000-cfm, variable air volume, 50% outside air units serve offices and labs (with once-through air). Energy-reducing features include low-velocity coils and filters and preheating/precooling of outside air coils using heat recovered from the laboratory exhaust systems.
  • Two variable air volume laboratory exhaust systems with heat pipe heat recovery coils are served by two pairs of 7,500-cfm, high-plume exhaust fans.
  • A high-efficiency, 150-ton centrifugal chiller, which uses pond water for condenser water, serves a variable primary flow chilled water system.
  • High-efficiency condensing hot water boilers serve preheat coils, space reheat coils, and an  in-floor radiant heating system.
  • The central corridor/atrium features natural ventilation.
  • Some of the other LEED-inspired elements include a green roof, photovoltaic cells, daylighting with high-efficiency lighting and lighting occupancy controls, and performance of enhanced commissioning by an independent commissioning agent.