Energy Efficiency in Vivariums
Peter Rumsey, Rumsey Engineers
Glen Berry, Design for Science
Building efficient laboratories can be a challenge, but vivariums
present an even bigger challenge. With their higher demands for
temperature stability and humidity control, as well as for energy,
vivariums are just more difficult to design. Despite these challenges,
there are many opportunities for efficient design.
Vivariums can be two to three times more energy intensive than
laboratories, as they typically have higher air change rates and
use more steam and energy for cage rack cleaning and sterilization.
Traditional practice usually places safety and performance above
all other concerns, at the expense of energy efficiency. Most facility
managers, owners, and engineers have a belt and suspenders
design mentality: if one is good, two must be better.
Transgenic mice are the next big thing in biotechnology laboratory
research, and, to some extent, this is driving the exploding need
for vivariums. These are mice without immune systems and, because
of this, it is necessary to maintain barrier control and optimal
airflow in the laboratory space.
This presentation will discuss recent successful design strategies
and areas for future research. Some of the design strategies that
have been effectively employed in efficient vivariums include: lowering
minimum air change rates; using computational fluid dynamics modeling
to optimize airflow; specifying highly-efficient air handling equipment;
minimizing reheat; and selecting highly-efficient cage rack cleaning
systems and tunnel washers.
The selection of highly efficient equipment like sterilizers, autoclaves,
and bio-safety cabinets presents a good opportunity for energy savings.
There are also different energy impacts between open cage racks
versus ventilated cage systems. The authors recently conducted a
thorough comparison of energy implications of a wide variety of cage
rack washing systems. They found a wide variety of energy efficiency
among different vendors of washing equipment, and that often the
best equipment available in a given category is not optimal.
Building practice for vivariums must evolve to incorporate new
energy efficiency standards promoted by the U.S. Green Buildings
Council, Labs21, and many other organizations. Highly efficient
and sustainable vivariums can be designed and built without sacrificing
safety, performance, or cost effectiveness.
Peter Rumsey, founder
and president of Rumsey Engineers, Inc., is a global player in energy
efficiency, with over 20 years of experience in a broad range of
government, scientific, and private sector projects. His expertise
includes design of efficient HVAC systems and energy monitoring
systems in commercial buildings and critical environments, management
of project teams, and analysis of design options using computer
simulation tools. Peter has published many papers on energy efficiency
and HVAC issues. Before founding Rumsey Engineers, he held engineering
and management positions at Sol*Arc Architects, Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratories, XENERGY Energy Consultants, the International Institute
for Energy Conservation, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Mr. Rumsey has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University
of California at Berkeley, and is a registered mechanical engineer
in 11 states, including California, Arizona, and Texas. He is a
Certified Energy Manager and an active member of ASHRAE and the
Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). The AEE San Francisco Bay
Area Chapter named Peter Energy Engineer of the Year in 2001.
Glen Berry is the president
and founder of Design for Science. Mr. Berry has specialized in
the programming, planning, and design of science buildings since
1986. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University
of Utah (1988) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in design from Brigham
Young University (1983). Mr. Berry is a registered architect in
Utah and Nevada, and is certified with the National Council of Architectural
Registration Boards. Prior to founding Design for Science in June
2000, Mr. Berry was a principal with Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum,
GPR Planners Collaborative, and Research Facilities Design.
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