Sustainability Scoop — February 2020

Sustainable Labs, Sustainable Results

LaboratoryResearch labs in New England are conducting lifesaving research and pushing the advancement of technology, while healthcare settings are looking for innovative ways to keep communities healthy and improve patient outcomes.

With current energy efficiency technology, lab and facility managers can reduce their energy consumption by 30 to 50 percent, but due to overwhelming maintenance and operational responsibilities, they may not know where to start.

Eversource has worked with lab and facility managers throughout New England to identify energy-saving measures to lower a lab’s energy consumption without sacrificing safety or productivity. Here are a few lessons learned from those projects:

  • Stress teamwork and build strategic partnerships. Sharing information and collaborating across industries ensures the success of sustainability projects. For Northeastern University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC), a hub for collaborative research, Eversource’s energy efficiency design team partnered with architecture firm Payette, engineering firm Arup, and general contractor Suffolk Construction on the comprehensive retrofit. Sharing information and collaborating across industries ensured the success of sustainability projects.
  • Conduct energy audits to assess inefficiencies. Once energy-saving measures were identified throughout the research center, the energy efficiency consultants provided recommendations to enhance the building’s performance, safety and sustainability, and worked with other contractors to implement the energy-saving solutions. Today, ISEC uses 75 percent less energy than a typical intensive research building, saving the university an estimated $300,000 in energy costs annually.
  • Customize your approach to achieve energy efficiency and occupant comfort. As part of a three-year partnership agreement with Southern New Hampshire Health (SNHH), Eversource serves as an onsite resource and provides technical assistance and engineering support to help address the hospital’s aging equipment. The first energy efficiency upgrades included a new chiller, which has saved $55,000 in annual energy costs while keeping patients and employees cool. Currently, SNHH and Eversource are undertaking a large project to address air flow in the main hospital. Improvements to the air handlers will reduce SNHH’s electricity use by 30 percent while providing a comfortable temperature for building occupants.
  • Identify incentives and financing options to help make energy-efficient projects a reality. Eversource helped Jackson Laboratory in Farmington, Connecticut, secure a $1.2 million incentive to reduce its Genomic Medicine lab’s energy footprint and help it achieve LEED Gold certification. The incentive covered half of the overall cost energy efficiency improvements, including the Aircuity ventilation system, that save the 184,000-square-foot lab $620,000 per year on its energy bill.

From small community healthcare centers to international collaborative spaces, investments in energy efficiency improvements can have a positive impact on a facility’s bottom line. Energy cost savings and improved performance are just the beginning. To learn more about safe and sustainable spaces, visit the Save Money & Energy section of Eversource.com.

The utility Eversource provided the text for this month’s Sustainability Scoop. If you are a utility working to reduce lab energy use in your region, or a lab owner/operator looking to work with utilities, join I2SL’s Electric Utility Support to Labs Working Group led by Steve Miller of Eversource. Contact Steven.Miller@eversource.com for more information.