Professional Engineering Society Recognizes Brookhaven Lab Energy Research Facility for Outstanding Achievements

UPTON, NY — The Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB) at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory is an 87,700-square-foot facility with highly specialized laboratories for researchers to explore materials' electronic structure at the atomic scale and develop new battery materials. The New York State Society of Professional Engineers' Suffolk County Chapter presented ISB project leaders from Brookhaven Lab and designers from HDR Architecture, Inc. with an Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award on June 5 during the Chapter's conference in Riverhead, NY. The Society selected the ISB for capturing the innovative and dynamic spirit of the engineering profession while fulfilling a public service need.

Interdisciplinary Science Building enlarge

The Interdisciplinary Science Building for energy research at Brookhaven Lab, which the New York State Society of Professional Engineers' Suffolk County Chapter recognized with an Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award on June 5

"Designing and constructing the Interdisciplinary Science Building with capabilities for scientists to get results they couldn't achieve before required custom engineering solutions, so it's an honor to receive this recognition from our colleagues," said ISB Project Manager Peggy Caradonna of Brookhaven Lab's Modernization Project Office.

Engineering Solutions for High-precision Research & Sustainability

The ISB contains four unique laboratories for energy research, including two ultra-low vibration labs that provide the stability required for scientists to probe materials' electronic structure at the atomic scale and fabricate new materials one atomic layer at a time. Instrumentation for this research is so sensitive that vibration from traffic on the Long Island Expressway more than a mile away could jeopardize scientists' efforts.

Engineers designed solutions and successfully exceeded vibration-reduction requirements by detaching the ultra-low vibration labs from the ISB building structure and resting them on custom-built air springs in a chamber with foot-thick concrete and radio frequency shielding 30 feet below ground.

The ISB—which also contains a "dry room" with controllable humidity for safely developing new lithium-ion batteries, as well as offices and 60 standard laboratories—was awarded LEED Gold certification in December 2013 for its energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable design, construction, and operations. DOE recognized the ISB project team with the DOE Secretary's Achievement Award in April 2014 for outstanding project management and comprehensive planning to deliver a modern research facility to advance breakthroughs in energy research and development.

The ISB opened in April 2013. Researchers from various scientific disciplines have begun using the facility's labs and others, including those who will work in the ultra-low vibration labs, are now setting up extremely sensitive equipment.

Brookhaven Lab's Modernization Project Office managed the ISB design and oversaw its construction. The facility was designed by HDR Architecture, Inc. and general contractor E.W. Howell, Inc. built the structure. The total cost for the project was $66.8 million, most of which was provided by the DOE Office of Science. The Lab received approximately $18 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate ISB construction in April 2009. 

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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