UW-Solar Life Sciences Building

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $7,500

Letter of Intent:


UW-Solar would like to work with the University of Washington (UW) and project architects from Perkins+Will on the proposed construction of UW’s new Life Sciences Building. This letter is to request funding to perform a feasibility study for the implementation of roof-top photovoltaic (PV) panels, as well as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) on the new Life Sciences Building.


Within the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton’s Urban Infrastructure Laboratory, UW-Solar is an interdisciplinary team focused on the devel­op­ment of solar instal­la­tions with accom­pa­ny­ing Indus­trial Con­trol Sys­tems on build­ings at the UW cam­pus,. Ranging from the the undergraduate to the Ph.D. level, UW-Solar students come from the Colleges of Engineering, Business, Built Environments, and Environmental Sciences.  UW Solar’s primary objective is to pro­vide clean and sus­tain­able power pro­duc­tion in order to reduce reliance on out­side energy resources, improve the resilience of power sys­tems to out­ages and reduce the over­all car­bon foot­print of the uni­ver­sity. The usage of clean and renew­able energy sources are a pri­mary objec­tive, as stated in the Uni­ver­sity of Washington’s Cli­mate Action plan, for the future sus­tain­abil­ity of the University.


UW is working with architecture and design firm, Perkins+Will, to construct the new Life Science Building. The project is time sensitive as construction is scheduled to begin June 2016. The implementation of PV is supplementary to original building design and would help with LEED Certification. The identified potential for solar power generation on the new construction includes standard PV panels on the roof and BIPV on glass fins on the southeast façade. There is also potential for BIPV on ground-level railing around the greenhouse.

PV and BIPV addition to construction design must be coordinated within the next two months to align with the proposed construction schedule. An assessment of solar panel and laminate options is needed before full integration into construction design. This funding request is for the initial feasibility study, which will be presented directly by UW-Solar to Perkins+Will on December 16th. The follow-up proposal to CSF will included the full project proposal and budget for full implementation.


The addition of photovoltaics to the Life Sciences Building will have a positive impact on the environment through the on-site production of renewable energy. This reduces the carbon-footprint of the building and increases energy self-sufficiency, which reduces energy costs while improv­ing capa­bil­i­ties for com­mu­nity ser­vice and rapid recov­ery dur­ing any future crises.

The 120 glass fins on the southwest facade of the building provide up to 6,000 ft2 of south-east facing surface area for BIPV implementation, with an additional 6,000 ft2  of north-west facing surface area. Harnessing the potential energy output of this area could provide a significant source of renewable energy.  


UW-Solar has the opportunity to lead this feasibility study and present options and recommendations to Perkins+Will for full implementation. This project will allow students to work with industry experts and gain experience in a professional setting, working on project development, design, and construction management.


This project has a high potential for education and outreach regarding sustainable energy. The integrated PV panels on the 120 glass fins on the Life Science Building facade will be highly visible facing outwards onto Pacific Avenue. The integrated PV option includes the opportunity for application of technology researched and developed at UW, as well as the opportunity for research regarding the performance of the system once implemented. The unique aspects of this project have the potential to make this a leading example of sustainability in higher education and will portray the University’s commitment to investing in alternative energy sources.


The feasibility study will investigate ongoing accountability for management and maintenance of the solar installations as well as long-term leadership considerations for the project related to executive stakeholders, tactical and logistical management and integrated impacts to staff and budget of stakeholder organizations.


Facility Adviser - Jan Whittington, janwhit@uw.edu
Urban Infrastructure Lab Manager - Stefanie Young, sy10@uw.edu
Life Sciences Building Project Managers:

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Stefanie Young