Forensic Science Laboratories: Planning & Designing for Sustainability
Wednesday, October 22
In recent years, our society has faced many challenges. Among the
most significant are the protection of our citizens and the protection
of our natural resources. When we talk of protecting individuals,
we often refer to the study of forensic science, a field that has
undergone dramatic changes in the last decade, including the design
and construction of modern crime laboratories. This is not surprising,
given that personal safety remains one of our nation's key concerns.
The evolution of forensic science impacts not only how the work
is performed, but also how the laboratories are designed and operated.
Forensic science laboratories are now among the world's most technically
complex facilities. The level of public interest in this field has
exploded into American pop culture. (Has anybody watched the television
series CSI, or read a novel by Patricia Cornwell?) What many, both
in and out of the industry, are beginning to realize is that many
of the best practices to meet the needs of forensic science and
law enforcement happen within the laboratory.
When we talk of protecting natural resources, we often refer to
sustainable design. That is, to create facilities that will endure.
Facilities that will meet the needs of today, without sacrificing
the next generation's ability to provide for their own needs. Sustainable
design seeks to provide building occupants with a comfortable, safe
and productive environment. It also strives to provide a building
infrastructure that supports the laboratory function, in an energy
efficient manner. When our natural resources are squandered, we
all suffer the consequences.
This breakfast session explored the field of forensic science,
and offered a better understanding of ways to protect both our citizens
and our natural resources. Forensic laboratories were examined from
the planning and design perspective to provide insight into achieving
superior laboratory capability and performance, while maintaining
unwavering environmental responsibility. Numerous laboratory projects,
including the new Los Angeles Regional Crime Laboratory (currently
under design) were referenced to help illustrate important concepts.
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