Forest Service to break ground on new lab

Ground will be broken Monday on a new $1.3 million environmentally friendly laboratory at the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) in Starkville.
The “green” laboratory will provide scientists in the SRS Wood Products Insect Research Unit with a “state of the science” facility to conduct research that helps protect homes, forests and other resources from insect pests, Director Jim Reaves said.
“The new facility will give Forest Service researchers a modern laboratory where they can better serve landowners, homeowners, the regulatory community and industry by meeting the increasing demand for testing termite and other control products,” said Reaves. “This laboratory is an investment in Starkville and the nation that will pay dividends today and in the future.”
The new 6,635-square-foot Wood Products Insect Laboratory will house the SRS research unit that includes the Termiticide Testing Program. The program provides data to the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators for registration of termiticides (pesticides used to kill termites) in the United States.
The unit also conducts research on termites and other wood-destroying insects. Currently, research unit employees are scattered across three separate locations including two temporary laboratories at Mississippi State University, a key research partner.
The laboratory will serve as a permanent location for about 10 employees and allow SRS to expand its research and increase opportunities with existing and new partners. SRS will construct the new facility on federal property across from the Forestry Sciences Laboratory at Mississippi State University.
Station officials designed the facility to meet standards required by the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. The laboratory includes the following environmentally friendly features:
• An Energy Star-rated standing seam metal roof over structural insulated roof panels will reduce heat gain during the summer, thus reducing the air conditioning load for the building.
• Glass block assemblies incorporated into exterior walls will maximize daylight in laboratory spaces, reducing the use of general area lighting in the laboratory spaces.
• The building will include energy-efficient T5 light fixtures that are controlled by a lighting control system to maximize the energy efficiency. Occupancy sensors will turn off light fixtures in unoccupied short-term use areas of the building. A master time clock will ensure that no lighting is inadvertently left on when the building is not occupied.
A daylight sensor will work in conjunction with the master time clock to energize the exterior building lighting only when it is needed.
• Seven small, highly efficient HVAC split systems will allow zoned heating and cooling of occupied spaces. When a room is not in use, that area of the building can be isolated to lower heating and cooling demands.
• No ozone-depleting refrigerants will be used in building systems.
• Extensive use of local and regional materials will reduce the amount of fossil fuel used for material transportation.
• SRS will extensively use building materials manufactured from recycled materials.
• Low volatile organic content of building materials, paints, caulks and adhesives will contribute to indoor air quality.
• All workspaces will have operable windows to allow occupants access to fresh outdoor air.
The new facility will contain four laboratories and support space. Site preparation work for the new facility is minimal, and existing parking spaces will serve the new lab.
Construction will not disturb the existing vegetative buffer between the new facility and nearby houses. SRS is paying for the project with general Station funds and expects to complete construction by April 2011.  
Research at the laboratory will complement programs at Mississippi State University, and it better satisfies cooperative ties with federal and state regulatory agencies, private industries and associations, and the public. SRS conducts insect and termiticide research with a variety of partners including major corporations and is recognized internationally for its research and testing activities.  
SRS is comprised of about 120 Forest Service scientists and several hundred support staff who conduct natural resource research in 20 locations across 13 Southern states (Virginia to Texas). The Station’s mission is “…to create the science and technology needed to sustain and enhance southern forest ecosystems and the benefits they provide.”