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Morning Roundtables

Wednesday and Thursday morning started with coffee, breakfast, and a discussion about today's many emerging topics in laboratory sustainability. The six Labs21 morning roundtables offered at this year's conference provided an opportunity for discussion on the ideas and challenges faced by some of today's laboratory-intensive industries.

2007 morning roundtables included:

  • Carbon Neutral Laboratories
  • Benchmarking Part I: Energy Benchmarking for University Laboratories
  • Laboratory Ventilation Management Programs
  • Proper Measure of Laboratory Ventilation
  • Benchmarking Part II: Benchmarking Energy and Water Performance in Laboratories
  • International Sustainable Laboratory Programs

    Carbon Neutral Laboratories
    Led by: Beth Shearer, International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories and Will Lintner, U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Management Program

    In the midst of the climate change debate, and on the heels of the "2030 Challenge," Congress is proposing a new bill that will require all federal facilities to be carbon neutral by 2050. The proposed "Carbon Neutral Government Act of 2007" will give agencies two years from the date the bill is signed to develop a plan for reducing carbon emissions. The tools developed by Labs21 and program resources will become increasingly vital as federal facility managers work to meet this aggressive goal. This interactive morning roundtable explored the implications of a carbon neutral goal for federal facilities, what key hurdles laboratory facilities will face, and how Labs21 can assist laboratories aiming to zero out their carbon emissions.

    Benchmarking Part I: Energy Benchmarking for University Laboratories
    Led by: Nathan Gauthier, Harvard University Green Campus Initiative; Peter James, Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement; and Paul A. Mathew, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    Energy benchmarking is an effective tool for owners to track the energy performance of their laboratories and identify and prioritize efficiency improvements. This session focused on the particular opportunities and challenges faced by universities in benchmarking their laboratories. Topics covered during the session included:

    • Benchmarking objectives and integration with overall university energy use
    • Management policies and objectives
    • Benchmarking methods and tools
    • Data collection and sharing

    Laboratory Ventilation Management Programs
    Led by: Tom Smith, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc.

    Laboratory personnel working with hazardous materials depend on proper operation of the building ventilation systems to provide safe, comfortable, and productive environments for research. Keeping the ventilation systems operating safely while maintaining high levels of energy efficiency requires careful management of system operations and effective use of available resources. The Laboratory Ventilation Management Program (LVMP) developed by EPA teaches a process of sustaining performance of ventilation systems and energy efficiency by using available tools to minimize resource expenditure. Nearly all laboratories are affected by resource limitations, which include budget, staff, and time constraints. The LVMP provides a tool to enhance the ability of a laboratory to maintain efficient operation of the systems by maximizing effectiveness of limited resources.

    The LVMP combines periodic tests that challenge operation of the systems over the operational boundary conditions with information collected by the building automation systems (BAS) to identify problems and target repair and maintenance activities. Critical operating data or key metrics that define operation of the ventilation systems are compared to baseline or benchmark data collected during TAB and system commissioning. The tasks of the LVMP are scheduled to permit identification of problems, rapid diagnosis, and targeted repairs. The LVMP strives to maintain safe and efficient operation while minimizing wasted effort by concentrating on the main factors affecting laboratory safety and energy efficiency.

    Issues discussed during this forum included:

    • Key operating metrics for laboratory ventilation systems
    • Maintenance management process
    • Roles and responsibilities
    • Recommended maintenance tasks and activities
    • Procedures for hood, laboratory, and system tests
    • Utilization of BAS monitoring and trends
    • Data analysis and reporting
    • Schedules for test and maintenance tasks

    Proper Measure of Laboratory Ventilation
    Led by: Philip Bartholomew, CUH2A, Inc.

    This session examined the validity of the air change rate of measuring ventilation effectiveness of dilution ventilation for laboratory spaces. The characteristics of dilution ventilation are demonstrated by using a water based model. This model uses both a visual tracer and quantifiable fluorescent tracer to simulate the effectiveness of dilution with different volumes in both a steady state as well as spill/decay mode. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss proposed metrics for defining the quantity of dilution ventilation to replace the "air change per hour" method used by many of the standards and agencies that establish criteria for laboratory design.

    Benchmarking II: Benchmarking Federal Laboratories
    Led by: Dan Amon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Paul Mathew, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    The federal government is under an increasing amount of pressure to improve energy and water efficiency and incorporate additional sustainable design principles at all federal facilities, including laboratories. To encourage environmentally sustainable design and operations within the federal real estate portfolio, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Order 13423 have established aggressive energy and water reduction targets; pending legislation is likely to result in even more stringent energy-related requirements for federal facilities. While these requirements will likely be a challenge for typical office buildings, the increased process loads and energy and water intensities in laboratories will make these goals considerably more challenging for the federal research community. As the federal community develops strategies for meeting these challenging goals, the ability to effectively benchmark performance of both new and existing facilities is becoming increasingly important. This interactive morning roundtable reviewed several best practices for benchmarking laboratory performance and also discussed how Labs21 tools, such as the Labs21 benchmarking database, can assist laboratories with specifying and tracking metrics over the course of design, delivery, and operation.

    International Sustainable Laboratory Programs
    Led by: International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories and U.S. Department of State

    Following the Labs21 Conference Symposia: Sustainable Laboratories in the Middle East and North Africa, a technical session dedicated to Australian perspectives; the steps by Labs21 UK into Europe over the past year; and the ever increasing international attendance at the Labs21 Conference; the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and the U.S. Department of State hosted this informal morning roundtable to discuss the opportunities to develop region-specific sustainable laboratory programming outside the United States.


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