Existing Laboratories: The Low-Hanging Fruit

Kevin Shea, Integral Group

The intent of this presentation will be to present some real-world examples of major energy-and carbon-reducing strategies in existing laboratories on university campuses in Vancouver, British Columbia.

We will take the audience through current projects at both Simon Fraser University and The University of British Columbia that are a part of achieving both institutions' carbon and energy action plans for 2030. The following project types will be described in detail with their assumed and real energy savings (if available):

  • High Plume Exhaust Wind Responsive Upgrades: Implementing wind tunnel testing for various buildings at UBC and SFU to reduce exhaust fan energy, with examples of fans that are equipped with variable frequency drives, and those that require upgrades.
  • Fume hood upgrades: Going from two position hoods to variable volume hoods in laboratories with minimal cost changes with significant energy and carbon reductions.
  • Air Quality Monitoring: This is not for every space and every lab. We will show examples of spaces that were found to be poor candidates, and those that work.

There are low-hanging fruit to be had on every university's campus, but the measures also won't make sense in every instance. We intend to take the audience through our lessons learned.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand where high plume exhaust wind responsive upgrades make sense and approximate paybacks at multiple facilities;
  • Understand where fume hood upgrades can achieve significant energy savings and what to look for when considering these upgrades, including but not limited to assessment of the air valves, sash sensors, and existing hood construction;
  • Understand where air quality monitoring can make sense to implement in existing facilities. This strategy is one of the most popular for new facilities, and upgrading existing facilities, but we will show both positive case studies and case studies where this solution did not have an obvious payback; and
  • Understand what questions to ask when considering retrofits of existing laboratories; we will also show how we worked with local utilities to support a number of these projects.


Kevin is a Principal at Integral Group in the Vancouver Office and brings over 15 years of experience to his role leading the S&T sector in Canada. He is passionate about sustainable design practices in laboratories and is heavily involved in Sustainable Labs Canada.


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