Big Changes in Lab Benchmarking

Alison Farmer, kW Engineering
Paul Jablonski, Siemens

The past year has seen the biggest shake-up in lab benchmarking since 2002: the new Lab Benchmarking Tool was launched in March 2019! Funded by DOE and developed by I2SL, LBNL, and kW Engineering, the LBT incorporates our community’s great ideas and feedback from the design charrette held at last year’s Annual Conference, and we’re excited to give you a tour of the new tool.

The LBT is still growing, with the addition of two new modules this year:

  • The Actionable Insights module, sponsored by Siemens, helps to bridge the gap between benchmarking and action by automatically generating recommendations for energy-saving projects tailored to your facilities.
  • The Portfolio Manager Connection module, funded by DOE, enables automatic data upload from your Energy Star Portfolio manager account to the LBT.

We’ll demonstrate the new features and give tips on how best to use them to further your sustainability goals. We’ll also explain why a strong benchmarking tool is so important for labs, why submitting your data strengthens the LBT, and where we’re planning on expanding the tool’s functionality next.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain why benchmarking for lab buildings is more challenging than for most other types of facility;
  • List some new features of the Lab Benchmarking Tool and describe how to use them to benchmark lab facilities;
  • Describe the ways in which the Actionable Insights module helps to bridge the gap between benchmarking and action; and
  • Describe the ways in which the Portfolio Manager Connection module will help to grow the LBT’s database.


Alison Farmer is a former research astrophysicist who is dedicated to saving our home planet by bringing energy efficiency to laboratory buildings. Alison is a director at kW Engineering, where she focuses on energy analysis and on design and commissioning of HVAC control systems. In addition to serving as Secretary on the I2SL Board of Directors and President of I2SL’s Northern California Chapter, Alison has chaired I2SL’s Laboratory Benchmarking Working Group since its inception in 2014, and she was a 2018 recipient of the I2SL Go Beyond Award. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the University of Cambridge in England and a PhD in astrophysics from Caltech.

Paul Jablonski has 45 years of experience with facility mechanical systems and controls. He has been with Siemens for 28 of those years. For the last 19 years and ongoing his focus is on improving the safety, compliance and energy performance of laboratory environments. Paul is an Engineering Project Developer in the Southwest zone of Siemens Smart Infrastructure and Energy Engineer for the Siemens Life Science Center of Expertise. His CoE role includes providing the technical content for the Green Life Science initiative and conducting Green Life Science technical guidance and education for Siemens engineers globally. Paul holds BSME and MBA degrees from the University of Notre Dame and is a Registered Professional Engineer.


Note: I2SL did not edit or revise abstract or biography text. Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s).