26 LaboratoryDesign|JAN|FEB 2015
heat output from high-energy-load zones to
other zones in the building; solar energy and
geothermal solutions where land area is available to eliminate carbon fuel-based chillers
and boilers are also common in today’s labs.
In addition to HVAC items, low-flow and
flow-limiting devices on water fixtures are more
widely used in laboratories today. Also, various
technologies for managing airflow through
fume hoods have become more widely accepted,
including such measures as zone presence sensors
to reduce face velocity when an operator isn’t
present, automatic sash closers and constant face
velocity flow control, according to Yacknowitz.
Emerging as an important trend is also a focus
on integrating utilities and building technologies
into adaptive, reusable and flexible spaces for science. “The concept of adaptive labs is of interest
to clients who can remain flexible in their programming over time while lowering replacement
costs,” says Bill Harris, Practice Leader, Principal,
Systemized utility racks allow laboratory
personnel to quickly rearrange laboratory
benches to address pressing research needs,
A/E/C firms are also seeing building
management systems (BMS) and related
controls becoming more sophisticated as
they offer technological solutions to reducing energy consumption, both initially and
long term, with significant results.
As energy costs rise and laboratories
become more air-tight, Building Envelope
Commissioning (BECx) is also becoming
more typical, as the envelope will play a
greater role in driving energy consumption.
“Several products are available to minimize
thermal bridging, and greater QA/QC collaboration on projects yields a better product,” says Jackson.
Let the light shine
As lab designers want to make lab spaces
more comfortable, they’re addressing features which have historically made laboratories difficult places to work: overly bright
light levels and excessive noise. Going back
beyond three years, scientists claimed to
need 100 footcandles (fc) of light on the
bench. The need for energy efficiency has
forced the question: Do researchers really
need that much light?
The answer, of course, varies from lab to
lab, depending on the research conducted.
But overall, instead of blanketing a lab with
fc, designers use a more targeted design.
The new focus is on finding the most efficient combination of task lighting and overhead lighting.
In order to provide an effective and efficient solution, most lab design firms provide
ambient (direct/indirect) lighting combined with task lighting at the bench. This
approach is a logical means of balancing
energy efficiency and visual acuity, as well
as the increased emphasis on effective daylighting and the control systems necessary to
realize these efficiencies.
Firms have seen an increase in LED light
usage. Whereas in the past LEDs were only
reserved for feature lighting due to the high
costs, according to Jackson, as their costs
continue to fall, LEDs are increasingly being
used for ambient lighting, back-of-house
lighting and task lighting.
Sustaining a lab environment
continued from page 25
Image illustrates many system considerations when designing a sustainable laboratory facility. Image: TK&A Architects/Blake Jackson