The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) earned a “Gold” certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The certification means that NBAF exceeded expectations for sustainable development.
“The NBAF is an advanced biocontainment laboratory dedicated to the investigation of diseases that pose a threat to both the animal agricultural industry and public health in the United States,” said Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, Senior Official Performing Duties of the Under Secretary for S&T. “The NBAF will be a national asset to meet the needs of the homeland security mission.”
The NBAF is the first and only large scale federal biocontainment laboratory facility in the United States to achieve LEED Gold certification. The United States Green Building Council (USBGC) administers the program, which is the most widely used rating system in the world.
“Labs like the NBAF can be quite energy intensive. Having achieved a sustainable design and efficient interior systems helps the federal government be good stewards of resources while providing a safe and secure setting for animals in the facility and the people who work in and around it,” said Timothy Barr, S&T NBAF Program Manager. “We’re excited about what this facility can achieve not only for our partners and the agricultural defense mission, but also in terms of sustainability. This certification provides peace of mind that certain efficiencies are already built into the facility’s long-term operating costs.”
The new $1.25 billion facility is to be completed in Spring 2022 in Manhattan, Kansas, replacing the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. At 700,000 square feet, NBAF will enhance America’s agricultural defense and establish a modern, state-of-the-art laboratory facility for research, developing vaccines, performing diagnostic testing, and training researchers and veterinarians to recognize the clinical signs of foreign animal diseases in livestock.
The NBAF’s design represents extensive efforts to deliver a modern and sustainable laboratory, above and beyond typical efforts. DHS, in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), led the design of NBAF. The USDA will own, manage, and operate the facility once construction and commissioning activities are complete.