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LEED® for Labs—Strategies for Designing LEED Laboratories

John Mlade, LEED AP, Perkins+Will

This presentation is geared towards professionals who own, design, build, operate, and maintain laboratory facilities. General information on leveraging LEED concepts into laboratory projects will be provided, as well as detailed information on the nuances between LEED-New Construction (NC), the current draft of the LEED-NC Application Guide for Laboratories, and the LEED-NC Application Guide for Campuses, and when and how to synergistically apply these systems to achieve LEED certification for laboratory projects. In addition, successful case studies and lessons learned, based on the presenter's experience working on 10 LEED-certified and LEED-registered laboratories, will be used to highlight specific examples.

Laboratories represent one of the most energy-, water-, and money-intensive building types, both in terms of construction and operation. Financial constraints frequently cause reluctance on behalf of owners and developers to fully embrace sustainable design, and specifically LEED, due to perceived increases in costs. In addition, human safety and operations and maintenance requirements can be viewed at odds with sustainable laboratory design. It is, however, very feasible to design and build a laboratory that can achieve LEED certification at little or no extra cost and also improve the health and safety of the building occupants.

While many sustainable design strategies can be applied to any building type, such as landscape plant selections and the reduction of ozone depletion potential from refrigerants and chillers, laboratories also harbor a unique set of considerations in design, such as coatings, fume hood selection, and security concerns. These and other challenges with proposed solutions for applying LEED to laboratories will be identified. LEED credits and their relevance to laboratories, their relative ease of achievement with laboratory design, and strategies for applying these tools on projects will also be discussed.


John Mlade serves as the national market sector research manager for Science+Technology Sustainability at Perkins+Will. As a firm-wide resource, he leads the firm's green building research in laboratory design and facilitates sustainable design on laboratory projects. His experience in sustainability and design is multidisciplinary and he has instructed sustainability-related courses at the university level at Colorado State University and Georgia Institute of Technology. He has worked extensively in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, has instructed the "Using LEED for New Construction on Laboratory Projects" workshop at Greenbuild for the past two years, and has been involved in over 12 LEED projects, including 10 laboratories. He is LEED Accredited and a Home Energy Rating System Certified Energy Auditor.

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