Skip to main content Skip to main content

Action-Oriented Benchmarking for Laboratories

Paul Mathew, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

A wide spectrum of laboratory owners ranging from universities to federal agencies now have goals for energy efficiency in their facilities (e.g., EPAct 2005 for federal agencies). Sometimes the efficiency goals are stated qualitatively, without explicit quantitative targets. In other cases, quantitative targets are specified, but there is ambiguity in how the metrics are defined and interpreted. Laboratories, with their complex building systems and special health and safety requirements, are much more likely to meet energy efficiency goals if quantitative metrics (i.e., units of measure) and benchmarks (i.e., level of performance) are explicitly specified in programming documents and tracked during the course of building delivery and operation. Indeed, the Labs21 Approach explicitly identifies establishing quantitative energy goals and tracking them throughout the building life cycle.

This presentation will describe an action-oriented benchmarking protocol that can be used to specify and compute key energy efficiency metrics and benchmarks for laboratories. These metrics include the traditional whole-building energy use metrics (e.g., BTU/sf-yr), but more importantly, system-level metrics such as ventilation efficiency (W/cfm). The protocol is action-oriented in that it indicates how the metrics can be used to identify the presence or absence of energy efficiency features and opportunities. This protocol, developed by LBNL with funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, builds on the Labs21 benchmarking tool as well as new developments in action-oriented benchmarking. This presentation will provide examples from new design and existing buildings. Finally, the presentation will provide some practical tips on incorporating these metrics into the design and energy management process for high-performance laboratories.


Paul Mathew is a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he works on applied research in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in the built environment. His current work is focused on energy efficiency and green design for laboratories and other high-performance buildings; energy benchmarking tools and techniques; and risk analysis of energy efficiency projects. He has a Bachelor degree in Architecture, and a Ph.D. in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University. His work experience includes technical research, tool development, and teaching in energy efficiency, sustainable design, and risk management. Prior to joining Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he worked at Enron Energy Services and the Center for Building Performance at Carnegie Mellon University.

Back to Agenda

EPA Home | OARM Home | DOE Home | FEMP Home

This page is no longer updated.
EPA gave I2SL permission to house this page as a historic record of the Labs21 Annual Conference.