NOBIC Awarded one of the 2015 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected New Orleans Bio Innovation Center (NOBIC) as one of the year’s top Ten examples of sustainable architecture and ecological design projects that protect and enhance the environment. The project will be honored at the AIA 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta.

“They have demonstrated very high levels of energy performance, especially given a very challenging climate. This is difficult to accomplish in New Orleans. ” – AIA COTE Jury

Newcomb & Boyd provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, audio-visual, commissioning, communications and security services for the four story LEED Gold certified science and technology incubator.


Two years after hurricane Katrina – the center was conceived to attract and retain the best and the brightest in the city. The executive director of NOBIC, Aaron Miscenich commissioned an energy intensive lab on a former brownfield site in a depopulated area, in a 1,500-acre redevelopment zone just west of the central business district New Orleans.

The New Orleans Bio Innovation Center is a four-story, 64,000 gross square foot business incubator located in downtown New Orleans. The building features wet laboratory and office space available for lease to biotechnology companies.

The success of NOBIC has been that it has helped launch 75 companies, created over 200 jobs and raised $6 million in start-up capital. According to Miscenich, much of NOBICs success comes through informal interactions within its spaces which truly speak of the success of its high-performance design.

Young entrepreneurs have flocked to the building since 2011. Within six months, the facility exceeded occupancy goals; currently it houses 35 companies. One tenant has grown from five employees in one lab suite to 50 employees in seven suites. According to Ripple, the architect, the goal was to nurture start-ups, but the expectation is that they move on, and in fact they are having active conversations to build a graduation facility.

“The shading system is the most striking part of the building. The façade treatment had thoughtful and well-proportioned shading on the SW elevation”.” – AIA COTE Jury

High Performance Design

The building is the first LEED Gold building in New Orleans and has a predicted EUI of 98 kBTU/sqft. This is a 71% reduction compared to an average lab building (EUI 343 kBTU/sqft). The measured EUI of the building is 103 kBTU/sqft/yr Some of the energy conserving features of the building include:

  • Efficient envelope and glazing
  • External shading for large fenestration areas especially on the south west façade.
  • Reduced lighting power density (1.14 W/sqft) along with occupancy sensor lighting control
  • Low exterior lighting power densities
  • Variable speed air handling unit and cooling tower fans
  • Variable volume laboratory controls
  • Demand controlled ventilation for the large 1st floor conference room
  • Duct static pressure reset control
  • Total energy recovery from toilet exhaust
  • Highly efficient water-cooled centrifugal chillers with variable frequency drives
  • Variable speed chilled and hot water pumps
  • Retrocommissioning performed by Newcomb & Boyd

“We like the floor plan and purpose of the building and admire the shading system. The building is simple, elegant, and beautiful.” – AIA COTE Jury

Project Data

Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Size 66,500 square feet
Services Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Audio-Visual, Commissioning, Communications, Security
Architect Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
Associate Architect NBBJ
Additional Award Recipient of 2013 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum
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