Integrating Safety and Operations to Reach Sustainability Design Goals

Christopher Incarvito, Yale University - West Campus
Kimberly Heard, Yale University Environmental Health and Safety

In 2007 Yale University acquired the site formerly occupied by Bayer Pharmaceuticals in West Haven and Orange, CT. This site, some 136 acres and 1.5 million square feet of existing building space, has become a chief focus of Yale's expansion across all academic programming. Lending to its prior use, the campus has planned for a high density of research activity which required extensive renovation to equip modern trans-disciplinary researchers with appropriately equipped laboratories.

We offer this 10-year retrospective look at how changes in programmatic need can become the largest driver of energy reduction in research-intensive buildings. Indeed, specific examples will demonstrate that substantial, if not challenging, decisions made early in the design process set building operation baselines that rival new construction or post-occupancy retro-commissioning.

In alignment with broader initiatives at Yale this presentation will also demonstrate that such changes in infrastructure design, or energy reduction goals, are not at the expense of or mutually exclusive of safety concerns. In fact, Yale Environmental Health and Safety's role as a key stakeholder afforded proactive safety-based design discussions while still benefitting from energy-reduction attributes like cascading airflows, smaller lab footprints, and fewer chemical fume hoods.

Learning Objectives

  • Discover how safety professionals can enhance the laboratory design process;
  • Learn how to reduce the overall energy consumption of the research enterprise while accommodating the same number of researchers in a smaller lab footprint;
  • Learn how programmatically driven laboratory redesigns can maximize energy efficiency and complement the addition of more energy efficient building systems; and
  • Learn how safety professionals can be advocates for sustainability initiatives without compromise.


In his role as Associate Provost for Science Initiatives at Yale University’s West Campus, Dr. Incarvito leads development of research, faculty recruitment, campus expansion, sustainability, and has oversight for communications. He is responsible for the quality and creation of new research programming and facilities through collaborative work with faculty, directors, deans, department chairs, and other university leadership. He spearheads an ambitious program of laboratory modernization, delivering a significant expansion of Yale's science and engineering capacity. He manages strategic capital investments, deployment of high-value shared research instrumentation laboratories, and has built successful collaborations with global scientific research organizations.

Ms. Heard has served in several roles within the EHS office at Yale University for over 20 years. She is currently an EHS Generalist with a specialization in Biological Safety. She spearheads safety programming at Yale West Campus spanning disciplines such as Chemical, Biological, Radiation, and Physical Safety in areas ranging from research laboratories to art conservation areas and from offices to the Power Plant.


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