Quantifying Zoned Energy Approaches for Academic Science Buildings

Rishi Nandi, Perkins + Will
Patrick Pease, Arup USA Inc.

The planning of academic science buildings often uses a zoned energy approach whereby we group high energy programs separately from lower energy ones. For decades the most common manifestation for biology research laboratories was a programmatic solution referred to as the 'laminated bar scheme'. Planners grouped lab spaces and their support spaces separately from use types such as offices to make for a better research/ working environments. An indirect result of this strategy was a separation of high and low energy use types programmatically within buildings. With the advent of heat recovery technologies, HVAC engineers took different approaches to help maximize energy efficiency. This resulted in an increased number of units often serving dedicated space types. These zoned facilities have, in many ways, become separate buildings under the same roof.

This presentation will center on the premise that it is time to revisit our sustainable approach to academic laboratory Facilities with an eye toward pushing alternative programmatic relationships that minimize energy performance. Due to the convergence between research disciplines including biology, chemistry, material sciences, STEM and life sciences we have chosen a base building incorporating the open lab modules of biology research and able to accommodate an interdisciplinary program for this study. The goal of this talk is to present a nuanced approach whereby we analyze the performance of a laboratory facility able to accommodate many different research types per zoned energy usage: Low and High. By updating the zoning of the laboratory facilities we hope to better integrate the HVAC systems for Low and High energy spaces, thus maximizing heat recovery. The presented analysis will be performed to understand the benefits in terms of both cost and carbon while positing other lab configurations with an eye towards minimizing impact.

Learning Objectives

  • To analyze how energy is used in academic science research facilities in a detailed way challenging the current planning paradigm;
  • To identify optimized programmatic relationships that may help conserve more energy and better limit a science buildings carbon footprint ;
  • To investigate how different ECMs can benefit from a programmatic reorganization ; and
  • To identify if an approach towards net zero and carbon neutrality exists for research facilities.


Rishi brings over 15 years of experience working on complex academic projects including science and technology buildings, museums and executive dormitories. These projects focus on minimizing environmental impact by employing progressive energy management and zoning strategies that meet client and asset management goals. He has spoken at numerous conferences on the implementation of these buildings including IS2L and most recently as the Chair of the Boston Facades + conference.

Patrick Pease is a mechanical engineer at Arup. He works in the Boston office, performing energy modeling, mechanical design and digital optimization, with a focus on digital delivery of laboratory and healthcare projects. Patrick has seven years of experience conducting energy modelling studies for a variety of projects types, scales and locations, and holds a Master of Engineering from Boston University. In addition to local projects, Patrick spent three years in Ireland working on a large-sca


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