ro-energy design component when projects also incorporate renewable
Resiliency is at the forefront of sustainable facility design due to climate
change impacts, such as increased flooding, natural disasters and extreme
temperatures. Labs represent a huge capital investment and can exacerbate
harm to their surroundings due to the hazardous nature of some experimentation activities. A resilient lab doesn’t look/operate differently from a typical
lab; it reflects a philosophy of long-term thinking to ensure the building can
maintain operations, structural integrity and safety during the worst possible
weather events. For example, placing vital MEP equipment above predicted
flood levels increases long-term viability in the event of prolonged flooding.
This opens the opportunity for social spaces at grade, which could publicly
promote the research conducted and/or serve as public/staff amenities.
Another resilient opportunity is introducing natural ventilation into
certain spaces within the lab. 99.9% of the time, this feature can be an
employee perk/energy-conservation measure, but during a catastrophic
event with prolonged HVAC outages, it could be the means by which
the building is ventilated. Resiliency should carry little added cost premium, as it’s less reliant on design features and more indicative of good
design. In the future, the level of resilience could determine the insurability of structures located in known areas of risk.
6. RENEWABLES/POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS (PPA)
The most common building integrated renewables include wind, solar
photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal. PV has become increasingly efficient and affordable due to reduced equipment prices, government incentives and renewable energy credits (RECs). The major hurdle to implementing solar projects extensively has been their initial cost. Conversely,
many solar providers offer owners the benefits of their panels in exchange
for use of their available space onsite through PPAs. This transferable
contract (typically 20 years) ensures energy produced by a provider’s
panels will be bought in total by the owner. All first-cost and ongoing
maintenance is covered by the provider, whose profitability relies on energy delivery. Eliminating this hurdle means the owner can invest in a slight
structural premium to manage the added load and pay off this premium
through ongoing energy savings via the fixed energy rate.
7. BUILDING DASHBOARDS/USER INTERFACE
There are many approaches to building metering, but it’s crucial to use
this information to enhance building performance. Some strategies rely on
LaboratoryDesign|NOV|DEC 2014 15
continued on page 16
Image of the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School Biologics Laboratory illustrates
concept of planning for big data. Image: Robert Benson Photography
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