Remaining nimble in a competitive research market: Strategies
for a cost-effective project
continued from page 17
Socio-Spatial Significance in Innovation,” 2
researchers in the same building are 33% more
likely to form new collaborations than researchers
occupying different buildings; and those who
occupy the same floor have a 57% greater chance
of engaging in new collaborations, as opposed to
scientists situated in separate buildings.
In addition, research data found that for every
100 ft of zonal overlap in lab proximity and walk-
ing patterns, collaborations increased by 20%, and
grant funding increased by between 21 and 30%.
Described as the most extensive attempt, to date,
to elucidate the socio-spatial dynamics of successful
scientific research collaborations and test assumptions about proximity and social networks, the
study validates this newer direction which architects and engineers are applying to lab designs.
SMALLER IS BETTER
Moving forward, labs will continue to be held
accountable for space utilization and building
operations, so setting up spaces based upon to
the latest evidence-based design research and
industry best practices is a smart way to proceed.
1. “The Case for Decentralized Financial
Management,” Scott Scarborough, http://
2. “A Tale of Two Buildings: Socio-Spatial
Significance in Innovation,” Univ. of
Michigan Institute for Social Research,
Victor Cardona, VP and director of lab planning, and Jon Romig, Associate and senior lab
planner, are both with SmithGroupJJR (www.
smithgroupjjr.com). Cardona and Romig have
specialized experience in research facilities, vivariums and high-tech environments for corporate,
academic, government and institutional clients.
recovery, beyond the data center, on campus.
The use of chilled beams and/or fan-coiled
units is typical in most new labs, and so is the
placement and isolation of high-heat emitting
equipment, such as ultra-low freezers and
growth chambers, from the rest of the lab. By
locating this equipment together, teams can
design a highly efficient water-cooled heat
absorption system. But this concept isn’t just
limited to rooms, it can also be applied to new
equipment. Microscopes, sterilizers and ice
machines can be hooked up to the water-pro-cess cooling loop, thereby effectively absorbing
the heat emitted by these pieces of equipment.
Ultimately, a large aspect of today’s lab designs
is allocating the “minimum” right amount of
space. In addition to better aligning facility-related expenditures with funding levels, labs are
actually finding these smaller, more efficient and
well laid out spaces to support productivity.
It’s important to note that this strategy
doesn’t only apply to the labs themselves, but to
the support spaces and collaborative, breakout
areas as well. In fact, post-occupancy studies
have found that too many collaborative spaces
actually scatter people apart, whereas fewer
shared spaces better concentrate researchers
and encourages idea sharing.
Interestingly enough, putting researchers in
close proximity to all of their immediate needs
is the most effective way to go. In fact, in one of
the first evidence-based design studies focused
on the research environment, social scientists
discovered a direct link between proximity and
collaboration, in addition to grant funding.
As revealed in the Univ. of Michigan Institute
for Social Research study, “A Tale of Two Buildings:
around for a while, and more recently, high-effi-
ciency (low-flow) fume hoods are making even
more of a dent in energy consumption.
However, the latest is ductless fume hoods,
which after filtering, re-circulate the air back into
the room. Although not effective in being able to
remove chemicals in every application, if appro-
priate, these ventilated cabinets are effective and
can substantially reduce the energy consumption
in the lab. Most are equipped with redundant fil-
ters and alarms, making their use simple and safe.
Engineers are also looking at ways to extract
heat emitted by lab equipment without using
air to reduce loads. It’s very expensive to condition air, especially since it can’t be re-circulated
in the lab environment. In fact, air circulation
in labs is ten times more energy intensive then
typical commercial facilities.
In turn, HVAC systems are trending toward
the use of water, which is a more efficient and
cost-effective way to provide cooling. Along
these lines, process cooling loops are becoming
a popular way to support mechanical equipment in bioscience labs, as well as physical science and engineering settings.
NREL’s Energy Systems Integration
Laboratory, Golden, Colo., is one recent example. To maximize efficiency at this facility, the
High-Performance Computing Data Center
(HPCDC) utilizes liquid-cooled servers, allowing heat to be captured in the form of water
with minimal fan energy. Complementing this
approach, HPCDC cooling is achieved through
evaporative cooling (no compressor-based cooling required). The HPCDC operates a projected
1.06 power use effectiveness (PUE), making it
one of the most energy-efficient data centers in
the world. Furthermore, this design strategy has
resulted in additional opportunities for energy
; NREL-DEVELOPED SOFTWARE TACKLES BUILDING EFFICIENCY AND
COST SAVINGS. The new Building Agent (BA) application allows
facility managers to quickly diagnose and adjust for problems
based on direct occupant comfort feedback. Occupants are
able to share this feedback via the application dashboard on
their desktop computers. With 25% of a building’s energy
performance directly related to occupant behavior, this capability can result in a significant step toward helping buildings
become more cost effective and energy efficient. Additionally,
the application provides aggregated data on electric energy,
thermal energy, internal temperatures, humidity and lighting
; ASHRAE GREENGUIDE: 44 GREEN TIPS. ASHRAE GreenGuide: Design,
Construction, and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, 4th Edition,
uses an integrated, building systems perspective to provide need-to-know information on what to do, where to turn, what to suggest
and how to interact with other members of the design team in a
productive way. The guide contains updated information that reflects
how green building practices as well as the industry have changed.
As in previous editions, the book contains Green Tips, which are sidebars containing information on techniques, processes, measures or
systems. There are 44 Green Tips in this edition, including new ones
on topics such as condensing boilers, rain gardens, green roofs and
data centers. www.ashrae.org/bookstore