Press Release: 06.24.2013

New Oak Ridge National Lab R&D Facility Earns LEED Gold

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. recently completed construction of the $14.3 million Maximum Building Energy Efficiency Research Laboratory (MAXLAB) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. Installation of research equipment is ongoing, and ORNL plans to dedicate the facility this summer. The one-of-a kind U.S. research and development facility has been certified LEED® Gold through the United States Green Building Council.

LEED is a leading international standard for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. The 18,000-gross-square-foot (gsf) MAXLAB received its LEED Gold certification based on a number of green construction and operation features, including a rainwater harvest tank, motion sensors, use of day-lighting in interior lab space, thermally improved ‘cool’ roof, thermally improved precast sandwich panel building envelope, aluminum exterior sunshades and individual thermostat controls in each office. MAXLAB’s green scorecard can be found here.

McCarthy served as construction manager-at-risk for the facility, which houses a high bay lab with an overhead crane for envelope system research, a low bay lab for HVAC system research, a data center and offices. McCarthy has also completed a separate utilities upgrade to provide mechanical and electrical services for the new lab and self-performed the concrete foundations and general works scope. This project follows McCarthy’s construction of the multiple award-winning $73.5 million Chemical and Materials Sciences Building and $7.4 million parking structure for ORNL, which were completed in 2011.                                                                        

“We were pleased to continue our relationship with ORNL on the MAXLAB project,” said McCarthy Project Director Larry VanHouten. “The purpose of this particular project certainly resonates with us as builders, as we are continually searching for ways to improve our processes and materials to produce better results for our clients. The research conducted in this facility will be very important to our company and the entire building industry moving forward, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Included with the construction of the lab facility were two light commercial building “flexible research platforms,” said VanHouten. These platforms allow for a fairly simple means to change just about anything about the “test buildings” to facilitate the study of building energy efficiency concepts.

The two-story research platform is a 4,050 gsf conventional steel frame with masonry envelope structure. The second research platform includes a 3,030 gsf, one-story, pre-engineered building with a sloped roof. The two research platforms have data connections back to the data center within the main MAXLAB research building and sit on insulated concrete foundations that include in-slab heating/cooling loops, which enable research equipment to control the temperature of the fluid circulating in the loops in order to eliminate heat transfer between the ground and the test buildings during experiments.

Concept design, design and construction documents and construction administration were provided by Cannon Design of St. Louis. Other contributors to the project design included civil engineer Fulghum MacIndoe & Associates, Inc. and landscape architect Hedstrom Design, both of Knoxville, Tenn. The design for the enclosure of the two platforms was performed by ORNL.

About Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) ( is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system. Managed since April 2000 by a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle, ORNL has a staff of more than 4,400 and annual funding exceeds $1.6 billion. ORNL’s scientific programs focus on materials, neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security. 

About McCarthy
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest commercial construction companies. Founded in 1864, the firm is currently the 8th largest builder in America (Engineering News-Record, May 2013) and has been building in the science and technology market for more than 50 years. This resume of experience includes: research facilities; life sciences; nanotechnology; pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical processing; data centers; high containment labs (BSL-3, BSL-4 and Potent Compound); cleanrooms; agri-business; and biomedical facilities. McCarthy provides services throughout the federal sector, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, US Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Indian Health Service. The company is working on government projects totaling $2.4 billion nationwide. Headquartered in St. Louis, McCarthy also has offices in Atlanta, Collinsville, Ill., Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco and Sacramento. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. For more information follow McCarthy on Facebook and Twitter.