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Chernoff Hall Chemistry Facility at Queens—2003 R&D Lab of the Year

Mark Mitchell, Keen Engineering Co. Ltd.

The Chernoff Hall Chemistry Facility at Queens University is one of the largest chemistry complexes of its kind in North America. The 153,000 square foot facility features environmentally friendly classrooms, offices, and research laboratories. This innovative educational facility achieved Research & Development Magazine's highest honour as "2003 R & D Laboratory of the Year" without compromising capital costs.

The design innovations include:

  • An Intelligent Service Module: The consultants and faculty jointly developed an intelligent laboratory bench module, which accommodates a variety of research needs. The standardized modules reduced capital costs, eased construction coordination, and accommodate curent and envisioned research requirements.
  • Fume Hoods: Low flow fume hoods, which use 40 percent less air in a constant air volume (CAV) were installed to lower ongoing cooling and heating requirements. Although these deeper hoods require more space per unit, their cost was compensated for by a smaller mechanical system and smaller ducts.
  • Water Conservation: Storm water is stored for irrigation purposes and flow-control roof drains reduce loading. The use of compressed air to secure both compressed air turrets and vacuum PIAB units eliminated the need for water aspiration or a dedicated vacuum system.
  • Energy Efficiency: The greatest reduction in energy and operating costs comes from the low flow fume hoods. The hoods were tested and designed with a face velocity of 60 feet per minute instead of the industry norm of 100 feet per minute. Displacement ventilation is employed in lecture theatres and exposed thermal mass offsets peak loads. The system is designed for a future heat recovery system between the exhaust and supply air.
  • User Safety and Comfort: Natural light penetrates into much of the complex via atrium and exposed ceiling strategies. Upward facing supply diffusers in labs enhance occupant comfort; and fume hoods are safely located away from exits and supply air. Laboratory exhaust strategies ensure internal and external environmental air quality.

Labs21 Connection:

The Chernoff Hall Chemistry Facility features a number of unique and innovative applications of technology that reflect the principles of the Labs21 Approach to laboratory design.

The use of a central manifolded fume exhaust systems coupled with low flow fume hoods reduces not only ongoing operating costs, but also the amount of ductwork and associated building costs. The design ensures occupant safety with low flow fume hoods that were rigorously tested in an independent lab (RWDI). The fume hoods are located at the perimeter of the laboratories allowing users to safely exit in the event that mishaps occur. The use of compressed air to secure both compressed air turrets and vacuum PIAB units eliminated the need for water aspiration or a dedicated vacuum system. Commissioning ensured that building systems operated as intended.


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