A Case Study of the NIR Center
By Erica Thompson
For a new lab development with a mission to accelerate innovation and prioritize sustainability, it’s fitting that the structure itself should embody these values. Summit Development’s New Industrial Revolution (NIR) Center is a 10-story commercial biotech laboratory building and one of Portland’s first proposed projects under the new building code for Type IV-B mass timber construction. Breaking free from the mold of “business as usual” (BAU) building methods, NIR Center is an innovative example of how mass timber can be hybridized with concrete and steel to reduce environmental impact while remaining cost-effective and decreasing the duration of construction.
The project team established embodied carbon reduction as a key net-positive impact area and aspired to significant reductions in the carbon footprint of the building materials. Incorporating mass timber was a first step to achieving this, but consideration of embodied carbon permeated all aspects of the design process. SORA Design Group led the team in performing a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to quantify the environmental impact of the proposed design and found that NIR Center will reduce its embodied carbon footprint by 39.3% compared to a BAU building.