Heikkila Chemistry & Advanced Materials Science Building

October 30, 2018

Mindy Granley

The newest building at UMD was built with sustainability in mind!

The Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (HCAMS) building is a 56,000 square foot research and laboratory building that will serve as a teaching resource for students from across disciplines and house a research lab, the Advanced Materials Center. The new building will help UMD meet the demand for STEM graduates in our region, along with upgrading important research facilities.

Research buildings use more energy than standard office or classroom buildings, so careful design considerations make this a highly energy-efficient building.  However, the building will add around 3% to the campus greenhouse gas footprint, making energy efficiency and renewable investments even more important into the future.  Green features of the HCAMS building include:

Energy Efficiency

  • This research building is quite energy efficient; B3 and SB2030 target for a research lab building is 347 KBTU/SF/year, and the predicted energy use of the building is 248.24 KBTU/SF/year, making the building nearly 30% more energy efficient than a standard design.

  • Heating and cooling in the building is accomplished through connection to existing campus steam and chilled water districts.

  • Exhaust air from the building flows through a plate heat recovery system, to retain heat from outgoing air to precondition the incoming, outdoor air.

  • Non-laboratory ventilation systems use Variable Flow Systems to save energy when occupancy is low in the building.

  • Laboratories have variable flow fume hoods with sash control systems

  • All of the lighting, both exterior and interior, are low-wattage LEDs, with vacancy and occupancy sensors throughout the building.

  • The building is connected to campus through a skywalk, to ease access and aid pedestrian safety HCAMS skywalk during construction

  • Exterior LED lighting: hcam
  • Fume Hood sash control: HCAMS lab space with new fume hoods


Renewable Energy

  • 50-kilowatt ballasted solar array on roof (modules are from SolarWorld, Sunmodule Plus, SW 290-300)

 hcams solar array

Architectural drawing of proposed solar array for the roof of the new CAMS building

Water and Stormwater

  • Low-flow faucets (1.5 gallons per minute), urinals (0.5 gallons per flush), and toilets (1.28 gallons per flush)

  • Design for stormwater treatment aimed to deal with runoff from most storms on site and includes: a series of stormwater swales provide biofiltration treatment, pervious pavers in main entrance area from Lot B, and lots of vegetation around the site.


storm water stormwater  storm water



  • Long-lasting materials chosen for exterior including: zinc shingles, aluminum, and ironspot face brick.  Exterior photo: exterior of hcams

  • During construction, the project was tracking at 97% of construction materials being recycled. Materials are sorted - from wood to metal, cardboard and even concrete- for reuse, repurposing, or recycling. Recycling at the site will be tracked until the end of construction.   hcams parking

  • Plenty of windows allow daylight into even the most interior areas of the building, which also allows students and visitors to see applied chemistry in action.

  • Careful selection of interior finishes and materials avoided volatile organic compounds.

  • The polished concrete flooring is easily maintained, and durable against chemical spills and stains.

  • Louvers for the building purchased from Industrial Louvers, the first U.S.-based manufacturer to receive the Just Label from International Living Future Institute.  Their sustainability practices focus on lessening manufacturing impacts on the environment.

  • Basalt is used outside as edging and is an accent feature outdoors leading to the unique stormwater system.



    More information:

    • View a presentation about HCAMS given by Dr. Andrea Schokker (UMD Civil Engineering) and Terri Ulrick, AIA, LEED BD + C, BWBR, at the October 2017 Building Green Conference, in Duluth, MN

    • View a short video of HCAMS being built 

    • HCAMS was selected as a Finance & Commerce Top Project of 2018