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Economic Models for Integrated Project Teams

Daniel M. Arons, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
J. Erik Mollo-Christensen, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates


Laboratory users and developers often have differing perspectives on how to approach laboratory design; lab users want more space, more equipment and more capacity. Developers—whether institutional, governmental or independent for-profit entities—look for quick permitting, lowest first cost, and highest return-on-investment. Quantitative and qualitative models define each perspective.

To create high performance environmentally sound laboratories requires each stakeholder in laboratory design to understand the system through a lens or model, which combines all of these perspectives.

A revised model challenges three tenets of lab programming:

  1. Lowest first cost wins
  2. System capacity drives system design
  3. Productivity is proportional to space allocation

The model, incorporating generally accepted parameter of sustainable design, can be used in combination with Environmental Performance Criteria to evaluate programming and design decisions.


Key aspects of high performance buildings are often taken for granted before the design team is even selected or before end-users are engaged. This presentation will use real projects to exemplify leverage points that project developers/owners should reconsider to create opportunities that offer market advantages. By broadening their evaluation matrices, both developers and end users alike, can find added value at affordable prices.

Opportunities that will be addressed include net present value incorporating factors such as: first cost, professional and legal fees, operational cost, time to permit, and time to lease. Additionally, market sensitivity to issues of personnel costs, energy price fluctuations and corporate/institutional "green" image can be evaluated.

Labs21 Connection:

Roadmap for Lab owners at arm's-length from tenants, for identifying critical aspects of high performance project development.


Daniel M. Arons, AIA, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates leading expert in sustainable design, is an accomplished project architect and project manager of complex renovation and new construction projects for institutional, corporate, and R&D clients. He is a meticulous and thorough team leader with the ability to coordinate extensive information and large multidisciplinary project teams.

Dan consults to universities, developers, and other clients on sustainable building practices, policies, and project implementation. He has presented at national and international conferences on such topics as energy-efficient building design for cold climates, campus guidelines for green buildings, and advanced building facades. Dan also teaches design with an emphasis on innovative construction technology and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Dan holds an MS in Building Technology from MIT and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the US Green Building Council's Education Committee, is Co-chair of the Boston Society of Architects Committee on the Environment and is a LEEDTM accredited professional.

A principal of Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, Erik Mollo-Christensen, AIA, has nearly 30 years of professional experience including architecture and interior design on a wide variety of project types. His work includes the design of both new and renovated laboratory, corporate, office, industrial, and institutional facilities with a particular emphasis on coordinating of complex engineering systems and managing large multi-disciplinary design teams. Erik has been recognized as a lab and vivarium planning expert through numerous trade conference presentations.

Erik holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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