Case Study

Emory University

Psychology and Interdisciplinary Sciences Building

Emory University is one of the world’s leading private research universities, and it is the United States’ fourth largest public-sector contributor to drug and vaccine discovery. This dedication to science and discovery permeates both the laboratory and the classroom at Emory, with over two million square feet of campus space specifically dedicated to research. The school also has especially high-ranking and selective medical, nursing, and public health programs.

When the university decided to construct a new building for their psychology program, they turned to Salas O’Brien for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) fundamental and enhanced commissioning services.

The five-story, 120,000-square-foot structure is more than double the size of its predecessor, and it brings together laboratories, classrooms, and administrative spaces that were formally scattered throughout six different facilities. The new building is part of Emory’s strategic plan to bring together natural and social sciences, with facilities empowering faculty and students to investigate and analyze language, memory, cognition, and mental health.

As part of the school’s commitment to sustainable practices, the structure’s design includes bioswale in the courtyard (diminishing storm water runoff) and wood-based building materials harvested from FSC-certified forests. The design also makes ample use of natural light. Salas O’Brien’s engineers commissioned all the building’s mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems with LEED certification in mind and made recommendations throughout the process. The finished building achieved a LEED Gold certification—one of 20 LEED-certified buildings on Emory’s campus.


Atlanta, Georgia

Construction Cost:
$45 Million

Project Size:
120,000 Square Feet

LEED Certification:

Commissioning of all Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection Systems