ning to establish a fellowship program in
forensic science with the University of Texas.
It also can serve as a regional training center
for law enforcement and crime labs. There
is an outreach aspect to create a talent pipeline for this critical profession and develop
the skilled staff that will serve the broader
The facility supports Travis County’s
sustainable initiatives with an environ-
mental design that incorporates pro-
gressive energy and water conservation
strategies tuned to the central Texas
climate. Mechanical systems include a
variable-primary chilled water system with
water-cooled centrifugal chillers, a vari-
able-primary heating water system with
condensing boilers, central air-handling
units and a central laboratory exhaust sys-
tem. A loop water system recovers energy
from laboratory exhaust to precondition
outside air when needed.
Because ventilation accounts for a sig-
nificant portion of energy use in these
types of facilities, the mechanical systems
were organized to minimize outside air
needs. Air handling units serve both
office and laboratory zones, providing the
labs with fresh air at levels 30 percent of
ASHRAE minimums with no additional
energy use. Laminar flow diffusers in
autopsy spaces reduce airflow, and sensors
on fume hoods modulate velocity when
users step away.
Low-flow, sensor-operated plumbing
fixtures account for a 40 percent reduction in water usage. Other green features
include daylight harvesting controls,
LED lighting and 100 percent stormwa-ter management. The building is targeting LEED Silver certification.
The holistic environmental design
illustrates how the building both honors
the forensics profession and enhances the community. Ultimately, it is a
building for the people, creating a lasting symbol of science, justice and civic
Adam Denmark, AIA, LEED AP BD+C,
is a principal at SmithGroupJJR and director
of the firm’s national laboratory planning
group. He has over 20 years of targeted expe-
rience in laboratory design and construction.
Mark Kranz, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a
vice president at SmithGroupJJR and a Design
Director for the firm. Mark is a Fellow in the
American Institute of Architects with over
100 regional and national design awards. He
speaks regularly on topics related to sustain-
able innovation in the design of a broad range
of laboratory facility typologies. mark.kranz@
Daylighting and other amenity-rich features create a more inspiring setting for the facility staff performing challenging scientific work.
The facility is more humane for families of the deceased.