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Commissioning for the greater building good

February 23, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

A buzzword thrown around in lab design is commissioning. But truly how important is this process to meeting end goals? My answer: extremely. Building commissioning is the process of verifying, in new construction, all building subsystems to achieve an owner’s project requirements as intended by the building owner and as designed by the building architects and engineers.

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Laboratory Design Connection

Closing in on net-zero energy for labs

May 19, 2015 9:46 am | by Arlen Li, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Principal, Payette | Comments

As a building type, labs have historically been the most energy-intensive facilities. This poses a tremendous challenge when designing lab buildings as net-zero energy consumers. A few prototype lab projects with net-zero energy intent do exist, usually with unique conditions of light lab programs and/or favorable climates.

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Between lab to factory: A new model for research in advanced manufacturing

May 14, 2015 1:12 pm | by Paul Harney, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Perkins+Will | Comments

The competitiveness of U.S. high-technology manufacturing in the global marketplace has become an increasingly serious topic in current political and economic debates. Meanwhile, while still ranking number one in many measures, U.S. universities see declining trends in research grant funding, and are urgently searching for new models of collaboration with private industry.

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The myth of low-flow fume hoods

May 13, 2015 1:40 pm | by Greg Muth, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates | Comments

I recently returned from a trade show where a number of manufacturers showed me their high-performance (low-flow) fume hoods. There were claims of energy savings ranging from 40% to 80%. These savings sound great, but I had to ask myself: Does this really fit with my experience? Can we really get these kinds of savings just from using high-performance hoods?

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Workspace trends in renovation design

April 30, 2015 9:17 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

The landscape of lab design is rapidly changing, and labs themselves have changed drastically over the past few years. For instance, laptops and large monitors that facilitate spontaneous meetings and discussions are now in most labs. With the onset of lab design, before computers, the focus was on benches, fume hoods and workstations. But the way researchers work in labs has changed with the advent of the computer.

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Don’t mock the mock-up: The value of tangible tools in conceptual lab design

April 20, 2015 2:31 pm | by Erin Miller, MA, LEED GA, Associate, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates | Comments

The process of scientific investigation—in the simplest of terms—is one of trial-and-error. Researchers test proof-of-concept and then reposition their focus based on data. The idea is to fail quickly, to get to the desired result sooner. The design process is similarly iterative. Solving for user’s needs and anticipating challenges often requires a search and discovery approach to the built environment.

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Facility planning for large research imaging equipment

April 20, 2015 12:07 pm | by Doug Dorney, AIA, CDT, LEED AP BD+C, Project Manager, Associate, Perkins+Will | Comments

Not long ago a prospective client called and asked if it would be feasible to incorporate a state-of-the-art, full-body research magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite into a new building. After a review of the finished building plans, we quickly determined not only was the building design not ideal for MRI use, but it would be impossible without extensive and expensive design changes.

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How academic institutions partner with private industry

April 20, 2015 9:35 am | by Janet Corzo, AIA, Associate, Perkins Eastman | Comments

Partnerships between universities and businesses are nothing new, but these partnerships have become especially relevant in the face of increasing economic pressure and global competition, the need for interdisciplinary approaches and the growing complexity of the problems need solutions.

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Simulating a hospital environment

April 17, 2015 3:29 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Simulation centers are often located in the basement or unused space of hospitals, universities and research centers. In some cases, they are a facilities best-kept secret, as they provide a wealth of learning and activities to prep workers for real-world situations. Most are also architecturally nondescript.

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Emerging models in undergraduate science research labs

April 17, 2015 3:13 pm | by Sara Gewurz, AIA, LEED AP, Associate, Payette | Comments

The increased pressure for undergraduates to gain research experience prior to graduate school has led to more students requesting participation in a lab environment throughout their undergraduate career. Undergraduate institutions are now faced with the challenge of finding an environment where faculty can succeed in their individual research endeavors, as well as teach these future scientists in their research labs.

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Lab utilities help promote science

April 16, 2015 4:28 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Compared to industrial and residential construction, labs are expensive as they are highly complex in nature. The end goal to constructing a functional lab is to provide valuable research results. At the heart of a lab is the research conducted and, as a result, lab owners can’t compromise research efforts by overlooking key aspects of the workspace—such as safety, comfort and sustainability.

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Controlling vibration

April 16, 2015 4:25 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Much equipment used in nanotech, physical and biological sciences can’t function properly if subjected to vibrations that exceed small threshold values. As a result, lab designers are faced with the challenge of developing designs where vibration disturbances are within acceptable limits to further science.

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Retro-commission your lab building for energy savings

April 15, 2015 4:33 pm | by John D. Villani, PE, LEED AP, QCxP, CEM, GBE, and Dan Doyle, PE, LEED AP O+M, Grumman/Butkus Associates | Comments

A well-designed lab facility will deliver a powerful combination of safety, functionality, efficiency and responsible use of resources. Most owners strive to achieve these goals in any new lab project or major renovation or addition. Performance can be documented by commissioning: third-party testing of the facility’s major mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems before a new or renovated project is turned over to the owner.

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Engineering’s new space needs

April 15, 2015 4:00 pm | by Jeff DeGregorio, AIA, LEED AP, Payette | Comments

In the past decade, the breadth of research focus areas within engineering has undergone a monumental transformation and expansion. Payette has investigated these transitions at many levels—from small-scale highly technical research lab designs to multiple institutional master plans.

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Pros and cons of fast-track project delivery

April 15, 2015 2:41 pm | by Steve Gurtel, Senior Project Manager, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and Stephen Palumbo, AIA, LEED AP (BD+C), Tsoi/Kobus & Associates | Comments

When done right, fast-track construction delivery methods can bring enormous benefits to the owner and the entire project team. They can significantly reduce the overall project design and construction schedule. Poor execution of a fast-track project will most certainly lead to problems, cost overruns, adversarial relationships and schedule delays.

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Out of the incubator, into the nest

April 10, 2015 4:07 pm | by Robert B. Skolozdra, AIA, LEED AP, Partner, Svigals + Partners | Comments

Research science startups face similar decisions and crises any new business venture might. The volatile marketplace demand for breakthrough research and the rigors of nurturing a new business make early-stage decisions crucial, even perilous. The startup’s first dedicated research lab represents a major investment of capital, and to invest wisely, leadership should ask itself a few fundamental questions.

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