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Human Centered Design for High Performance Laboratories

Jonathan C. Weiss, RA, MS, O'Neal, Inc.
Kath Williams, Ed.D., U.S. Green Buildings Council


Currently, the movement towards high performance or sustainable laboratories has focused on the energy and material resource effectiveness during their design, construction, and operations. Such laboratories can not really be sustainable if they do not consider the human condition- those physical, psychological, and behavioral attributes that define the 4-dimensional, perceptual, and cognitive worlds that humans occupy. How the design of a laboratory supports and enhances the ability of people to successfully perform their tasks will, in large part, determine the sustainability of a facility. Human Centered Design for High Performance Laboratories is a comprehensive and anticipatory systems approach to laboratory design that takes into account how the physical facility issues, the needs of people, and the formation and interaction of the project team throughout the life cycle of the facility impacts the sustainable design outcome.

A case will be made for a design process that reflects the intention of design professionals and facility owners to create truly sustainable laboratories. These facilities will optimize the use of human, material, and financial resources by ensuring that the facility reflects a synergistic design that incorporates the physical, psychological, and behavioral needs of people with the technical issues of effective resource utilization.


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