Shepherding a Sustainable, All-Electric Laboratory Design Through Value Engineering, Construction, and Transition to Operations: A Focus on Metering and Metrics

Deirdre Carter, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Energy Manager will present a case study involving a recently constructed, all-electric 80,880 square foot genomics laboratory, emphasizing how Berkeley Lab and the design team worked to ensure that carefully considered metering strategies and well-defined building performance metrics were carried from design through value engineering, construction, and into operations. The laboratory design features very low modeled as-operated energy use (92 kBTU/square foot per year), just 28% of the energy used by the tenants in their previous facility. The building also includes careful orientation and passive design strategies, radiant and chilled beam space conditioning, all-electric heating systems with both airside and waterside heat recovery, maximized open roof space designed for solar photovoltaic generation, a medium temperature chilled water plant, LEED gold certification, and many additional energy- and water-saving features. The all-electric design will ensure that the climate footprint of the building will shrink over time as the electricity grid is decarbonized.

For this genomics laboratory, metering points as well as whole building, system, and end-use performance metrics were fully defined in the project plans and specifications as a tool to ensure design energy performance targets are realized and to guide efficient operation of the facility. However, lack of understanding of metering by construction teams and confusion about scope arising from the fact that metering points span multiple spec sections, divisions, and subcontractors created ongoing challenges to proper installation of metering.

The presentation will highlight approaches to navigate deviations from design that occur during the submittal review process to maintain original design intent. The presentation will also cover enhanced measurement and verification that was performed to properly commission the metering and monitoring systems. Finally, operational performance data for the facility and building-specific dashboards that were created in Berkeley Lab's energy information system (Skyspark) to track the performance metrics on an ongoing basis will be presented and compared to design intent.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how integrated design allows buildings to 'survive' value engineering without impacting energy performance;
  • Understand how changes during construction can affect design energy targets;
  • Learn about fully commissioning meters through enhanced measurement and verification; and
  • Understand how using an energy management information system during commissioning and into operations ensures the building meets and maintains energy and water performance targets.


Deirdre Carter, PE is the Energy and Sustainability Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She works on reducing Berkeley's Lab electricity, natural gas, and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through building energy management and efficiency to meet DOE and University of California sustainability goals. She holds a M.S. from Stanford University and B.S.E. from Duke University, both in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer.


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