design and planning
continued from page 1
So, what does it mean for a lab to be
designed sustainably? Does that mean different things to different people, whether
they be the owner, the designer or the
contractor? Does sustainability depend on
the type of lab being planned? Does it also
depend on the culture of an institution
and what they are willing to accept?
I asked a dozen colleagues represent-
ing the design, construction and owners’
point of view what they thought and will
present some of what they told me here.
Jason McLennan in his book, The
Philosophy of Sustainable Design, defined
sustainable design as “a design philosophy that seeks to maximize the quality
of the built environment, while minimizing or eliminating negative impact to
the natural environment.” So, what does
the term “sustainable lab design” mean?
For starters, it means different things
to different people. One colleague
told me it means “reducing energy use
through the mechanical system and
designing the architecture to support
these reductions.” Another said that it is
a lab that is “durable, flexible and effi-
cient.” A third said it represents “at least
a 20 percent improvement relative to a
baseline” on matters of energy, water
and occupant well-being. The bottom
line is that labs may consume up to 10
times more energy than a conventional
office building. With that in mind, what
strategies can be used to make lab proj-
ects more sustainable?
Most respondents agreed that a lab
can be sustainable but it takes a great
deal of care in design as well as buy-in
from the owner on what they are willing
to consider and accept. First and foremost, labs need to be safe. Certain levels
of cleanliness must also be achieved in
addition to specific ranges of relative
humidity and temperature. Generally
one pass air is the rule, along with minimum air change rates dictated by the
range of activities taking place in the lab.
Closing the fume hood sash.