the company spend the most time
• What is the facility doing well?
Consider initiating a Stop, Start and
Continue exercise to collect and analyze
these activities. This activity can be
facilitated internally prior to the project or
by the design group. This technique is a way
to structure a discussion that critically looks
at the facility’s internal processes and design
by asking three very simple questions:
1. What should the facility stop doing?
2. What should the facility start doing?
3. What should the facility continue doing?
Once the exercise is complete, the
group needs to prioritize the items
listed. This is accomplished by giving
everyone three dots and asking them
to place a dot or dots on the most
important issues. This voting exercise
allows the group to come to a consensus
on the issues that need to be addressed
by designers or what items they will be
able to address internally.
• What facility practices are important to reinforce and/or expand?
• How does the facility define what is
fixed, flexible and the future flexibility
As these questions are asked and
answered, it is important for architects,
By spending more time on upfront plan-
ning, potential time consuming and expen-
sive to fix surprises will be eliminated. This
assures an organization that their vivarium
will meet today’s challenges and will be
more adaptable to handle future growth and
George L. Kemper, RA, is a senior laboratory planner for BHDP Architecture.
BHDP designs environments that affect
the key behaviors necessary to achieve
strategic results for clients by thinking
creatively, staying curious, fostering
collaboration and delivering excellence.
Refrigeration innovation for laboratory environments
Laboratories are among the most ener- gy-intensive facilities in the country, using as much as three to four times
more energy than an average commercial
building, according to the U.S. Department
of Energy. 1 This is in large part due to lab
equipment, particularly freezers and refrigerators that operate non-stop to maintain
the environmental conditions necessary for
sample testing and storage. Considerable
cost is also required to maintain these systems. Harvard University recently published
a study conducted by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), which found
that the direct cost of electricity use for an
individual laboratory-grade freezer could
be between $1,000 and $1,500 per year. 2
Additionally, Stanford University found that
its 2,000 freezers, operating at -80 degree F,
were costing the university $5.6 million per
year to operate.
Energy and efficiency regulations are
becoming increasingly important to
reducing consumption, cutting costs and
improving workspace comfort in laboratory environments, while still maintaining the refrigeration quality standards
that are required to protect research and
store ready-to-use materials.
This past year, ENERGY STAR enacted standards for laboratory refrigerators
and freezers to help professionals working
in these environments meet these goals.
During this time, solid-state refrigeration
was recognized as a breakthrough that
changes the paradigm of what high-performance refrigeration can be, while eliminating all the inefficiencies of conventional
An efficiently designed solid-state refrigeration system can use alternative refrigerants such as CO2, a non-hazardous and
natural refrigerant, to achieve high-performance cooling while at the same time
reducing energy consumption by as much
as 40 percent. This advancement in technology makes solid-state a superior and
sustainable option to displace incumbents.
Beyond environmentally friendly refrig-
erants and energy savings, solid-state tech-
nology provides a stable environment that
eliminates the need for moving parts or
hazardous refrigerants common in conven-
tional models. The absence of a compressor
offers several benefits that are not possible
using conventional refrigeration methods
while providing laboratory professionals
with an alternative. Other benefits include:
• Precisely controlled temperatures:
Solid-state refrigeration eliminates temperature oscillations seen with conventional
duty-cycles of a compressor system. The flat-line temperature stability is complemented by
corner-to-corner uniformity expected from
• Reduced costs: Mechanical system
failures can be prohibitive both in terms
of repairing the compressor system and
replacing contents that spoiled due to its
failure. Solid-state eliminates the fric-
tional forces that can cause weak points
in the system to fail, thereby reducing
operation and maintenance costs.
• Less heat output: Consuming less
energy and eliminating mechanical
energy results in less heat released into
the working environment, reducing
the HVAC and related air conditioning
capacity needed to maintain a comfortable working environment.
Looking ahead, the effort to improve temperature control procedures and standards
on a large scale will require continued action
on multiple fronts. The EPA is beginning that
process by acknowledging that solid-state
refrigeration technology offers sustainable
advantages that were not previously thought
possible. Additionally, researchers and other
laboratory professionals looking for advanced
technologies, products and protocols now
have greater access to models that will help
them better manage temperature control.
Arming laboratory and research professionals
with more reliable equipment allows them to
make life-saving and world-changing innovations a reality.
Jerilin Kenney is Vice President and
General Manager of Life Sciences and
Healthcare at Phononic, which manufactures
cooling and heating devices, based in
Durham, N.C. www.phononic.com