Designing for Green Lab Operations

Dirk von Below, Flad Architects

With sustainable labs requiring active participation from users, initiatives such as My Green Lab formalize a comprehensive management approach. This presentation will address how lab design can integrate this approach, creating optimal lab environments for efficient operations.

Although past emphasis has been on creating labs that have energy-efficient building systems, little focus has been given to creating an optimization feedback loop and examining how labs are conceived to maximize resource utilization. Looking at a radical new approach to managing lab space and equipment illustrates how far lab management can advance. This approach takes a holistic look at how labs are designed and operated.

Synergies are found by optimizing the interaction of design and operation components:

  1. Considering space programming & management
  2. Optimizing lab layout & lab operations
  3. Procuring and utilizing energy-efficient equipment
  4. Designing building and operating systems through a continuous improvement program

Often sustainability considerations focus on the lab design but end at move-in. Integrating the operations with lab design will be the focus of this presentation, as only the tracking and post-occupancy evaluation of operations offer the results that are expected by the low-carbon targets that organizations are starting to report annually.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the relationship between sustainable design and operations;
  • Plan for operational and behavioral impacts on resource and cost savings after move-in;
  • Learn about opportunities in maximizing space and equipment used in designing and managing laboratories; and
  • Challenge assumptions common in current laboratory management.


Dirk has 30 years of comprehensive architectural experience delivering science buildings to private and institutional clients. He has managed large projects that balance state-of-the-art design, efficiency, and environmental design within a tight financial framework. Dirk's experience includes cost estimates, planning, and quality assurance.


Note: Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s) with the exception of minor edits for style, grammar consistency, and length.