OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — McCarthy Building Companies Inc. has topped out on construction (placed the last beam at the top of the structure) of the new Maximum Building Energy Efficiency Research Lab (MAXLAB) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The $11.8 million, 16,600-square-foot facility will be devoted to the research and development of energy-efficient building products, including HVAC and exterior building envelope materials, components, and systems.

Construction of the new MAXLAB facility is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is scheduled for a November 2012 completion. McCarthy is serving as construction manager-at-risk for the project along with a separate upgrade project to provide mechanical and electrical services for the new lab.

“MAXLAB is the next step in our commitment to building energy efficiency research,” said Jimmy Stone, ORNL’s director of facilities and operations. “Updated facilities will enable us to stay in the forefront of our field, and we have the team in place to do this effectively.”

“We are extremely pleased to be continuing our relationship with ORNL on the MAXLAB project and the concurrent 3000 Area Utilities project, which supports the new lab,” said Larry VanHouten, McCarthy project director. “The purpose of this particular project certainly resonates with our 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.”

MAXLAB will house high bay facilities with an overhead crane for envelope system research, low bay facilities for HVAC system research, a data center, and offices. The project is targeting a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

Included with the lab facility will be two light commercial building “flexible research platforms.” These platforms will allow for a fairly simple means to change just about anything about the “test buildings” to facilitate the study of building energy efficiency concepts. One research platform will be a 1,600-square-foot footprint, 3,200-square-foot, two-story facility with a low-sloped roof. The second research platform will be a 2,400-square-foot, one-story building with a sloped roof. The two research platforms will 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 will enable research equipment to control the temperature of the working fluid circulating in the loops in order to eliminate heat transfer between the ground and the test buildings during experiments.

McCarthy is utilizing local tradespeople for construction and is self-performing the concrete foundation and general works scope.

For more information, visit www.mccarthy.com.

Publication date: 01/02/2012