Sustainable Strategies for Non-Traditional Labs

Jeremy Snyder, Buro Happold
Patricia Culley, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

There are many considerations for project teams to prioritize when creating sustainable labs. This session shares strategic design and engineering tactics for sustainable, non-traditional laboratories, with key examples from recent project work.

From an architectural and user standpoint, design considerations include wellness of building occupants, such as access to daylighting and views, natural ventilation, and universal design. Focus on user controllability is also an important aspect to ensure high levels of comfort.

From an engineering and owner standpoint, considerations include efficiency in mechanical systems, such as the use of variable air volume source capture and general exhaust, which can maximize user controllability and energy efficiency, as well as water-sourced heating for perimeter zones to combat facade loads.

This session will share sustainable lab examples from recently completed, state-of-the art facilities including ANSYS Hall at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is a LEED Gold, 36,000 GSF, new construction building consisting of computer labs, dry lab, high bay maker space, classrooms, and offices for faculty and staff. Centered around its High Bay and exterior Maker Court, the building is a light-filled, transparent hub and a key link in the College of Engineering Maker ecosystem for nano, micro, and macro fabrication. It embodies the university's initiatives on sustainability and developments in research and innovation.

Learning Objectives

  • Compare sustainable strategies for traditional labs versus modern electronics or fabrication labs;
  • Design solutions when connecting a new modern lab building with a historic structure;
  • Identify tactics for universal design within lab buildings; and
  • Evaluate long-term campus planning goals when designing new construction projects.


Jeremy Snyder leads multidisciplinary engineering teams in the design of innovative and sustainable projects. Collaborating with clients, architects, engineers, and contractors, he advocates for a truly integrated process. He promotes designs that are future ready, resilient, with maintainability, comfort, and occupant efficiency in mind.

Patricia Culley is a vocal advocate for sustainability, pushing architects to align the technical rigor of sustainability with a strong design sensibility. She believes an architect's greatest asset is the ability to problem-solve, and she brings that mentality to all of her engagements. She is a proactive communicator, committed to inclusivity.


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