Continuous Improvement Working Group

Industry Lead: Allen Doyle, Sustainability Visions, LLC, Atlanta, GA, and Phil Wirdzek, President and Executive Director, I2SL

Working Group: Jim Coogan, Siemens; Quentin Gilly, Harvard University; and Rachel Romero, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Coordinated by: University of California, Davis, University of Minnesota, and I2SL

I2SL and subject matter experts in the laboratory community are developing tools and a process for continuous improvement in new and existing laboratory facilities. The tool is called the Laboratory Improvement Maturity Matrix (LIMM), and is similar to “Maturity Models” used in software development, supply chain, and tech development, for example. The tool provides a management benchmark through a team process. It includes managers and leadership, bringing them together and bridging silos of expertise and activity. The tool will complement established evaluation systems such as LEED® by ranking best practices, and indicating the staffing, training, policy, funding, and risk analysis to reach high performance. This tool is expected to be useful to EH&S, operations, management, security, occupants, and others throughout the laboratory's useful life.

A pilot version of the tool was tested at the 2018 I2SL conference, and the content focused on ventilation management and upgrades. While still early in content development and output, the demonstration was a success. Laboratory owners and service providers valued the questionnaires that challenged them to understand their own areas of expertise (Facilities, Automation, Safety, Design, and Finances) as well as their colleagues areas.

Working Group Intent

The purpose of this Working Group is to develop a tool and process for use by the laboratory and high-tech building industry and implemented at facilities worldwide. The Working Group began by:

  • Exploring the needs of the laboratory and high-tech facility community (e.g., issues related to facility type, ongoing operations and management, and operating budgets).
  • Evaluating rating systems already in place (e.g., LEED, ISO, ASHRAE).
  • Identifying the format of the tool (e.g., point system, checklist, written guidance).
  • Discussing the options for recognition (e.g., self-reporting, certification, accreditation).
View the latest draft of the LIMM Tool.

Topic Areas

Continuous improvement is difficult in any complicated operation where different stakeholders may get isolated from each other. The tool platform and format will be roughly the same, while the content and best practices will be developed by teams of subject matter experts from each topic. The following topics are under development:

  • Ventilation Management
  • Fume Hood operations
  • Cold Storage Management
  • Waste Reduction
  • Plug Load
  • Occupant Empowerment
  • Green Chemistry
  • Metering

Get Involved

This Working Group invites individuals and organizations committed to helping I2SL develop the continuous improvement tool and content for different initiatives. Organizational representatives are encouraged to contribute their technical expertise, facility information, and experiences.

The Working Group is currently divided among three committees. Each committee will focus on one of the following efforts and provide recommendations for how each can best be integrated into the Laboratory Continuous Performance Improvement System.

  • Incorporate current standards and components of existing rating systems that are applicable to laboratories.
  • Focus on changing user behaviors.
  • Utilize metering and dashboards to inform occupants.

Representatives meet in person at least once annually (at the I2SL Annual Conference) to discuss progress toward developing the system. Periodic conference calls are scheduled throughout the year, both on the Working Group and committee levels.

If you would like to join the Working Group, contact I2SL.


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