Laboratories are notorious for their extraordinary energy consumption, often using six to 10 times the amount of energy of a normal office facility. As more and more attention is given to reduce lab energy use, it becomes increasingly more important to understand the energy drivers in labs to better target energy-conservation measures and improve occupant behaviors.
On September 19, 2014, the Smithsonian Institution opened the doors of its greenest building to...
Can a high containment lab have windows? Can the traditional model of a high containment lab be...
In their 49th year, the Laboratory of the Year Awards continue to recognize excellence in...
Each year, many entries are entered into R&D Magazine’s Laboratory of the Year competition; but only a select few win. However, each entry exhibits trends in modern lab design. From flexibility to sustainability to collaboration, these trends showcase the best design options for lab facilities today and the future.
In “Modern trends in lab design” I’ve covered the latest trends in labs today. But what do architects foresee of future lab designs? And what issues still need to be addressed to make labs better for researchers and their research?
The goal of any lab planner is to make labs as safe, functional and comfortable as possible. And one of the larger issues in regards to researchers’ comfort is lighting. However, not only is lighting a comfort issue in labs, but it’s also a sustainability issue.
Engineering education is experiencing a reinvention. More than ever before, colleges and universities are employing experiential learning paradigms to enhance and solidify learning, with curriculums being reinvented and tailored to maximize relevancy to industrial real-world needs.
Like all aspects of a lab environment, safety is any lab plumbing engineer’s first priority when designing plumbing systems for labs. These solutions must also help meet research needs. Every researcher in a lab who deals with hazardous substances needs access to emergency fixtures and eye washes that will help them remove contaminants in the event of a mishap.
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.
Michaella Wittmann, HDR's director of sustainability, will serve a three-year term as chair of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI)'s new Envision Review Board. The new board will oversee ongoing development of ISI's Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system, initially launched in 2012.
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.
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.
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.
Creating an environment for optimizing the control of outside factors in vivarium facilities is critical to the success of reliable research outcomes. Animal responses are directly impacted by their environments—by air, access to food and water, light cycles and noise. Acoustic separation to isolate animal areas from noise and minimizing intrusive sounds into animal-occupied spaces is desired.
The Midwest can boast of a new 60,000-sf crime lab (which shall remain unnamed). Designed by Crime Lab Design (CLD), this facility has been a long time coming, and is a good reminder of the virtue of patience. Even in good economic times, the facility would’ve faced two significant challenges to begin with: First, justifying the project to a wary state government; and second, securing funding from that government.
Without substantial experience in Biosafety Level 3 work it can be easily underestimated just how much is involved in designing a BSL-3 facility. Design guidelines such as the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) list BSL-3/ABSL-3 design criteria that may appear as a deceptively simple upgrade to BSL-2; a good bit of reading between the lines is needed.
One of the perennial questions in the lab design conversation is “what’s the future of the research lab?” One viewpoint on this issue is the research lab environment will become more “polarized”. In other words, the generic research lab will become more generic, and the specialized research lab spaces will become more specialized and idiosyncratic.
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.
There has been much speculation about what the academic scientific workplace of the future will look like. As young scientists enter the post-doctoral and faculty ranks and recent college graduates enter graduate school, architects and lab planners will need to re-think the way we design research environments so these facilities will best serve the next generation of scientists.
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.
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.
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.
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