Environmental, Regulatory and Operational Challenges in Achieving Energy Efficiency in a BSL-3+ Facility - A Case Study

John McDonald, Integral Group

Located in Southeast Asia, this BSL-3+ facility of approximately 6,750 square feet with a full interstitial space of approximately 7,500 square feet for the plant room located above the facilities was located on the 15th floor of an occupied lab building. The purpose of the laboratory is to enable researchers to study potentially lethal airborne agents such as: highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, SARS coronavirus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Burkholderia sp., New York Strain of the West Nile Virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, etc. in a safe and certified BSL-3/BSL-3+/ABSL-3 environment.

Local regulations dictated high air change rates (ACH), combined with CDC/NIH requirements for non-reversal of air flow presented unique challenges to provide an energy efficient design. The design of the HVAC system had to ensure that there would be a controlled pressure regime, tight room temperature and humidity control, while meeting efficient energy requirements and no cross contamination / reversal of air flow.

To achieve deep energy savings, an unoccupied operating mode with significantly reduced air flow was designed. We know of no other BSL-3+ facility with this sequence of operation. The commissioning and certification processes confirmed design intent of reduced ACH during non-occupied hours without reversal of air flow with no compromise in laboratory safety. Further energy use reductions were accomplished with low velocity coil design (18% fan energy savings) and energy recovery. Testing is currently underway to confirm anticipated energy savings and if available by conference, will be presented.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of BSL-3/BSL-3+/ABSL-3 system design concepts and requirements based on a completed and operational facility
  • Participants will be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of BSL-3/BSL-3+/ABSL-3 system operational requirements based on a completed and operational facility
  • Participants will be able to relate the energy savings concepts employed, commissioned, and certified in an operational facility
  • Participants will be able to discuss the energy savings realized from various system concepts, based on actual facility perfromance

Biography:

John McDonald is recognized as one of the leading green engineers for laboratories and animal facilities. Experience includes design and commissioning of multi-disciplinary facilities for biological, chemistry, forensics, genetics and behavioral sciences research; multi-species vivariums; cleanrooms, cGMP, ABSL-3, and BSL-3 facilities, Clients include: J.Craig Venter, Allergan, and Genentech. Overseas experience include: National University Singapore, and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

 

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