For projects located in moderate climates that are striving to meet aggressive energy reduction goals, natural ventilation is a must. But implementing natural ventilation will introduce potentially humid air to interior spaces, which can be problematic. At Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s new MESOM laboratory project, offices and workspaces utilize operable windows to meet their primary ventilation requirements, leaving only the internally located laboratories requiring mechanical ventilation. To facilitate cross ventilation, we organized the building into a narrow bar and provided ample operable windows and large doors which open onto exterior work areas. The scientists at MESOM often work between their exterior work yard and their interior labs to prepare scientific instruments which go out to sea. Large open doors facilitate their workflow and allow breezes into the building.
With the interior now exposed to marine air, interior finishes need to be able to withstand the corrosive salt air environment. MESOM’s concrete structure – exposed on walls, floors and many ceilings – is an excellent material to use in a coastal environment and here it also serves as thermal mass which improves the performance of the building’s radiant heating system. Interior finishes have been carefully selected to provide durability and corrosion resistance. Most metals are type 316 stainless steel, which is highly resistant to corrosion. Ferrous metals are galvanized and coated with high performance paint. The window system is fiberglass – another excellent material to use in a corrosive environment, and it also provides an outstanding thermal barrier.
The new laboratory building opened this past month and the occupants are enjoying the fresh ocean breeze without worrying about damaging their sensitive equipment.