Skip to main content Skip to main content

Morning Roundtables

Attendees began their Wednesday and Thursday with coffee, breakfast, and a discussion about today's many emerging topics in laboratory sustainability. This year's agenda once again featured Labs21 morning roundtables that provided an opportunity for discussion on the ideas and challenges faced by some of today's high-performance facilities.

Labs21 2008 Morning Roundtables:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Thursday, September 18, 2008
8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Energy Use Standards for Laboratory Equipment
Led by: Jonathan Livingston, Ecos Consulting; and Paul Mathew, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

The impact of laboratory equipment on energy consumption is getting increased recognition by resource-conscious laboratory owners and managers. As energy costs rise and efforts to reduce carbon emissions increase, so too does interest in assessing and managing the plug-load demands of research equipment—from water baths, to autoclaves, to refrigerators. To achieve this, the laboratory community must have access to objective and accurate data on products' energy use. Manufacturers often advertise the sustainability of their products, but a lack of benchmarks and verifiable data makes it difficult to compare one piece of equipment to another and to operate new equipment at an optimum level of performance.

This session explored steps needed to launch a program for testing and verifying the energy consumption of laboratory equipment. The following questions kicked off the discussion:

  • Is the laboratory community interested in developing energy efficiency guidelines for laboratory equipment?
  • If so, who are the key stakeholders in this initiative (e.g., laboratory owners/managers, utility companies, equipment manufacturers, ENERGY STAR®), and how can we get them involved?
  • What might possible funding mechanisms be for developing and sustaining laboratory equipment energy efficiency guidelines over time?
  • What types of equipment should be included in initial assessments? What about future rounds of testing?

Exhaust Stack Discharge Reduction: Means and Methods
Led by: Fred Bockmiller, University of California at Irvine; and Chet Wisner, Ambient Air Technologies

Typical research laboratories are energy-intensive structures. In many cases, vast quantities of air is conditioned, supplied, and exhausted after passing through the building just once. Laboratory exhaust stacks and fans discharge air, typically at more than 3,000 feet per minute, requiring considerable energy. The goal of this session was to discuss if the application of "smart controls" or other operating measures to the exhaust fan and stack system will achieve significant energy savings without compromising safety (consider impacts to roof maintenance workers, building occupants, and occupants of adjacent buildings). For the purpose of this discussion, significant energy savings is defined as a 15 years or less net simple payback period.

Broad topics that were discussed included:

  • Metrological events that may facilitate a reduction in exhaust stack discharge velocity.
  • Technology available to manipulate exhaust stack diameter or height as required.
  • Sensing techniques for contaminate concentrations.
  • Smart controls that combine the above listed inputs and technologies and can effectively reduce the discharge speed as feasible.

A Conversation with High-Technology Campus Developers and Investors
Led by: Lisa Michelle Galley, Galley Eco Capital

What value proposition do developers and investors bring to research and high-technology campuses, and why would energy efficiency and environmental sustainability be in their interest? This unique, first-of-its-kind Labs21 discussion opened the door for the Labs21 community to better understand the motivations and reservations of investors and developers supporting high-technology campuses. Ms. Galley is one of only a handful of real estate specialists in the U.S. with focused expertise in arranging and structuring financing programs for green real estate projects. Her experience includes developing all components of a green real estate investment strategy. She is currently involved in major sustainable real estate developments and brings her "green" insights and energy to these projects. This opportunity to speak with her, and possibly several of her clients, will begin an effort to involve these interests in the on-going activities of Labs21.

International Collaborative Efforts in Benchmarking Pharmaceutical and Educational Laboratory Energy Usage
Led by: Diana Glawe, Ph.D., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This session provided a venue to discuss the purposes, opportunities, and challenges involved in establishing an international energy benchmarking tool and database for pharmaceutical and educational laboratories. These two types of facilities were selected for international benchmarking because of 1) the relative similarity of design, engineering, and use in educational laboratories, and 2) the fact that pharmaceutical manufacturers have global laboratory assets that face regional incentives for tracking energy consumption and carbon reduction.

By combining data from different countries, an international benchmarking initiative will expand the statistical base for laboratory benchmarking and reveal trends that could illuminate best practices in different countries, from which others can learn. There are, however, challenges in developing agreed upon metrics, language, and usage. Session participants attempted to develop common benchmarking definitions, terms, and metrics and identify activities to leverage an international energy benchmarking tool into existence.

Laboratory Energy Manager Certification
Led by: Beth Shearer, International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL)

Just as laboratories are functionally different than typical office buildings, so too are the energy management systems and operational procedures required to run these more energy-intensive facilities. Good laboratory managers have knowledge of laboratory equipment operation, understand the kind of research being conducted in their facilities, are aware of risks related to their building and research type, and are in control of central plant systems. As energy demands and costs increase, laboratory managers will be faced with increasing obstacles to saving energy and will be given new responsibilities to reduce carbon emissions. How will you ensure that your facility is being run by the most well-informed energy managers? Attendees of this discussion explored the pros and cons of developing an energy manager certification for professionals. During this session, they looked at the obstacles to certification, determine appropriate training needs, and devised a plan to develop a certification that will ensure good laboratory energy management that is in line with the goals of Labs21.

Application Guide for the Labs21 Environmental Performance Criteria
Led by: Paul Mathew, LBNL, and Kath Williams, I2SL

I2SL and the U .S. Green Building Council (USGBC) provided an update on the status of LEED® for Laboratories and the USGBC's interest to have it included in LEED 2009. A timeline to complete the laboratory rating system was described and a discussion on how the Labs21 Environmental Performance Criteria (EPC) was incorporated. The Labs21 Community was invited to join an "advisory" committee to the LEED for Labs board, and an open discussion closed out the session.

Data Center Environmental Performance Criteria
Led by: Geoffrey Bell, LBNL

The Data Center Environmental Performance Criteria (EPC) is a proposed rating system to assess the environmental performance of data center facilities. The EPC is being developed in collaboration with wide variety of data center stakeholders including the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Critical Facilities Roundtable, Uptime Institute, The Green Grid, ASHRAE TC9.9, the California Energy Commission, and LBNL.

The Data Center EPC leverages and builds on the U.S. Green Building Council's widely used LEED® Rating System, extending it to set appropriate and specific requirements for new data centers. The Data Center EPC is a public domain document that is available for anyone to use as they see fit; no project certification process is provided. The eventual goal for this development effort is to have the USGBC produce a LEED Application Guide for datacenters.

The following is the status as of August 2008:

  • A DRAFT EPC is in development and is available for informational purposes only. It is not an official release of the USGBC.
  • This DRAFT contains only credits and prerequisites that are being modified or added to LEED TM NC 2.2 (ballot version). All other credits and prerequisites will remain the same.
  • This DRAFT includes a "rationale" for modification and additions to each LEED credit and prerequisite. The rationale is for informational purposes during draft development only and will not be included in the final document.

Al Akhawayn University Incubator
Led by: Rachid Benmokhtar Benabdellah, Al Akhawayn University

This session allowed participants to speak one-on-one with Rachid Benmokhtar Benabdellah, President of Al Akhawayn University in Infrane, Morocco, regarding the Al Akhawayn University Incubator. The main objective of the incubator is to create a supportive environment for regional and national socio-economic development. Taking advantage of Al Akhawayn University's human and physical resources, in addition to its international and national network, the incubator aims to concretize a key strategic goal for the whole country that is encouraging the creation of startup companies for graduates. Al Akhawayn University, through its incubator, hopes to set a new standard of excellence in the promotion of innovative ideas, in the encouragement of entrepreneurship, and information technologies and their ever increasing role in the modern firm.

Dr. Benabdellah also give a brief talk on this project during the Opening Plenary Session on Tuesday, September 16.

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.