This month's issue of Laboratory Design Newsletter features articles on commissioning labs for energy savings, next-generation engineering labs, fast-track project delivery, incubator lab design, fire alarms in animal facilities, forensic lab design and more. The issue also includes news notes, new products and new projects.
The design of labs for sustainable construction and operation has become a major driver in the A...
The Midwest can boast of a new 60,000-sf crime lab (which shall remain unnamed). Designed by...
The 2015 Laboratory Design Conference is open for registration. Your opportunity to learn, network and participate in discussions about current and future trends in lab design is coming to Atlanta, April 27-29th. The countdown to the conference has begun, and here’s a countdown of reasons why you should be there.
The typical lab building is an energy hog. These buildings house complex environments heavy on equipment and infrastructure and are regulated by strict code requirements. While the basics of green architecture create a strong backbone for sustainable lab environments, a truly successful green lab strategy strives to contribute to the occupants’ comfort while addressing a need for constant change, heavy energy usage and waste regulations.
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) and Skanska announced a new U.S. partnership. With the partnership, Skanska has committed to aligning the delivery of heavy infrastructure civil projects with efforts to ensure the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the communities where they are built.
The idea of green and sustainable building isn’t a new one. In fact, the idea of using sustainable materials for building has been around for generations. But until recently, the goal of achieving LEED Platinum certification was retained for buildings that weren’t massively energy dependent.
Five years ago, it was revolutionary to put chilled beam heating and cooling in a lab; but now this hydronic form of sustainable HVAC is increasingly common in modern, sustainable lab settings. Chilled beams are operated where pipes of water are passed through a beam, or heat exchanger, either integrated into standard suspended ceiling systems or suspended a short distance from the ceiling of a lab.
The design of labs for sustainable construction and operation has become a major driver in the A/E/C industry over the past 10 to 15 years. Most large academic, government and corporate lab clients are looking for sustainable design approaches at a minimum, and third-party certification, such as LEED, in many cases.
Labs use a lot of energy. What else is new? But how that energy is used is key to understanding opportunities for energy reduction. The energy genetics of a lab can vary depending on the program of the building. And energy programming helps firms map the energy DNA of the building in a way that’s specific to the program and climate.
Inadequate insulation is one of the largest causes of wasted energy, quickly allowing comfortable heating or cooling to disperse air outside. That’s why researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are collaborating with industry to develop a high-performance material that nearly doubles the performance of traditional insulators without a high cost premium.
It’s a well-known fact that labs consume four times more energy per square foot than a typical office building. And while ventilation and plug loads account for much of this energy use, proper design and detailing of building envelopes can have a significant impact on the energy demands of lab buildings.
“CH2M HILL’s all-round strength is an ideal match for customers wanting to drive value from solutions,” according to a new Green Quadrant report by Verdantix. Previously Verdantix has named CH2M HILL a leader in its Green Quadrant studies on U.S. Sustainability Consulting (May 2013), U.S. Environmental Services (May 2012) and U.S. Sustainable Engineering (Sept. 2010).
Windows allow brilliant natural light to stream into homes and buildings. Along with light comes heat that, in warm weather, we often counter with energy-consuming air conditioning. Now scientists are developing a new kind of "smart window" that can block out heat when the outside temperatures rise. The advance could one day help consumers better conserve energy on hot days and reduce electric bills.
With the recent news about Ebola, MERS, extremely drug-resistant TB and other emerging and re-emerging diseases, the world-wide need for high-containment laboratories is at an all-time high. These laboratories are highly complex buildings that serve as a barrier between the dangerous pathogens handled in the laboratory and the surrounding environment.
The 50,000-sf New Technology and Learning Center for Bristol Community College, Fall River, Mass., brings together disparate programs—chemistry, biology, medical and dental education—holding energy-dense uses, including 18 fume hoods, high plug loads and specific ventilation and lighting requirements.
With 48% of the world’s energy consumed by buildings, and labs near the top of the consumption range by building type, these power-intensive facilities are now viewed with much more scrutiny. Consider an average office building runs on 3 W/sf and 100 kBtu/sf/yr, whereas a lab can use 15 W/sf and 300 to 500 kBtu/sf/yr—five times that of other buildings.
Throughout the past 15 years, an emphasis on energy-efficient lab operations has become a major influence in lab design. This fact is driven by a number of forces, from practical considerations surrounding operational costs, to policy issues related to sustainable development and carbon reduction.
Sustainable design has grown in prominence in recent years as most projects aspire to some level of environmentally conscious design. Research institutions now recognize the significant environmental impacts of their lab facilities, and owners are willing to think creatively to reduce resource utilization, improve interior environments and save capital costs.
The 2014 I2SL Annual Conference was the 16th consecutive lab sustainability conference for high-tech facility engineers, architects, planners, developers, operators and owners. Formerly known as the Labs21 Annual Conference, the 2014 I2SL Annual Conference showcased the significant accomplishments and experiences of the high-tech facility industry by offering a variety of parallel technical tracks and symposia.
The recently designed Univ. of Colorado Boulder Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC) implemented a Konvekta intelligent high-efficiency heat-recovery system with MeeFog direct evaporative cooling. Labs typically implement one of four systems including run-around loops, energy-recovery wheels, refrigerant heat pipes or plate heat exchangers.
It’s no secret lab facilities carry the burden of a large energy demand. Reasons for this high demand include the significant plug loads of specialized lab equipment, the high ventilation air change rates often implemented in lab spaces and the large volumes of hazardous exhaust air that must be moved out of the building.
Labs are far more energy intensive than typical commercial buildings, but not all labs consume energy for the same reasons. Most available design guidance for labs provides a list of energy-efficiency strategies that include reducing design air change rates, decoupling cooling and ventilation systems and employing variable-air-volume fume hoods.
Nearly 40% of the total U.S. energy consumption in 2012 was consumed by residential and commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While each building is a consumer of energy, they also contain energy resources that are under-utilized or not even considered as energy resources.
The 50,000-sf New Technology and Learning Center (NTLC) for Bristol Community College (BCC) in Fall River, Mass., brings together currently disparate programs from across campus, including chemistry, biology and medical and dental education. It holds an energy-dense program, including 22 fume hoods, high plug loads and specific ventilation and lighting requirements.
Univ. of Washington’s Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (UW DEOHS) has 20 labs used for research, education and analytical services. Activities not only focus on environmental and workplace factors that affect health, but practices within. DEOHS labs haven’t been assessed for their impacts on health and sustainability. DEOHS has the capability and responsibility to provide leadership and serve as an exemplary model.
In 2013, Emory Univ. pulled together a multidisciplinary team of individuals from the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, Environmental Health and Safety Office, Office of Procurement, Campus Services and research labs to develop the university’s first Green Lab Program. In early 2014, the team kicked off the program to a small pilot group to test the initiatives and provide essential feedback.
When making the decision to invest in a building retrofit, an energy audit is performed to collect information about the facility’s existing systems, geometry, use type and energy consumption. Through performing an energy audit, the facility owner and those individuals analyzing the building are able to sense how the building systems are performing, while identifying potential retrofit upgrades.
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