Decarbonizing Laboratory Buildings: Concepts and Strategies

Paul Mathew, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

This presentation will introduce concepts and strategies for decarbonizing laboratory buildings, drawing on a forthcoming I2SL guide on this topic. We will first introduce the four pillars of decarbonization: energy efficiency, beneficial electrification, onsite renewables and storage, and demand flexibility. We introduce quantitative metrics and targets that can be used to assess decarbonization. We then present key strategies that are especially relevant for laboratory buildings. This includes strategies for new construction and existing buildings. We highlight considerations that are specific to implementing these strategies in labs. For example, we will present how to electrify space heating systems using hybrid approaches that cover base load with heat pumps and gas systems for peak loads. We include case studies of lab buildings that have implemented these strategies. Finally, we present cost implications for decarbonization strategies.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the four pillars of decarbonization;
  • List the key decarbonization strategies that are relevant for existing and new lab buildings;
  • Describe metrics that can be used to quantify decarbonization; and
  • Describe the cost implications for decarbonization.


Paul Mathew is a Staff Scientist and Department Head of Whole Building Systems at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where he conducts applied research on energy use in buildings. He has a Bachelor's degree in Architecture, and a Ph.D. in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University.


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