Coconut Island, Kaneohe, Hawaii


Situated on Coconut Island (Moku O Lo’e) in Kaneohe Bay, this one of a kind 24,000 square foot research facility is designed to be a world class marine biology laboratory within the EPA’s Labs 21 and US Green Building Council’s LEED® Gold rating standards. The island’s surrounding 64 acres of pristine coral reef provides an unparalleled research environment for the study and investigation of marine mammals, corals and various species of reef fish.


Ferraro Choi and its design team provided a revised master plan for the expanded research facility, which included upgrading and interconnecting existing laboratories and support buildings with new laboratories. A new integrated energy efficient and environmentally sensitive infrastructure was also designed to protect the local ecosystem with the goal of developing the island into a self-sustaining site on the forefront of research and education.


The project consists of 12,000 square feet of biology labs designed as an intimate scientific village revolving around the individuality of the labs. Modular low impact construction techniques are to be utilized in the design to minimize adverse affects on the island’s fragile environment. Another 12,000 square feet of wet labs and offices were designed within the shell of an existing 40-year-old laboratory building to continue the structure’s long term usefulness and minimize new development and construction on the island. Extensive networks of salt-water marine holding tanks are also planned to expand on existing facilities.


Sustainable Design Strategies:

    • Minimum site disruption
    • Preservation of habitat
    • Existing building reuse/renovation to minimize new development
    • Diversion of construction waste from landfill
    • Thermal comfort
    • Superior indoor air quality
    • Optimal building orientation
    • Natural daylight, views, and shading techniques
    • Individual temperature controls
    • Energy conservation of 40% in comparison to a code-compliant base case
    • Renewable energy systems: photovoltaics and solar water heating
    • Water conservation/graywater use
    • Panelized construction
    • High-efficiency mechanical systems
    • On-site low-impact environmental sewage treatment
    • Rainwater harvesting
    • Use of low or no VOC paints, sealants, and stains
    • Full building systems commissioning
    • On-site waste stream treatment