I2SL Best Practices Guide Series:
Laboratory Water Efficiency

July 19, 2022
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Eastern Time

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As part of an ongoing educational series, I2SL is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to offer webinars highlighting new and updated best practices guides on laboratory sustainability and efficiency topics. Join Stephanie Tanner from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program and Robbie Pickering from Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) for the third webinar of the series, covering the recently updated Water Efficiency in Laboratories Best Practices Guide. This informational webinar is provided at no cost to encourage attendees to continue improving sustainability and efficiency in laboratories.

Laboratories can use significantly more water per square foot than typical commercial buildings, largely to support high cooling and heating loads and specialized laboratory equipment and operations. This webinar will review current best practices related to common laboratory-specific equipment (e.g., water treatment systems, steam sterilizers, vacuum systems), cooling towers, and steam boilers. This session will also highlight opportunities to reduce water use in systems that are not specific to laboratories, such as restrooms and irrigated landscapes, by looking for WaterSense labeled and ENERGY STAR certified products. Lastly, the presentation will identify resources available through WaterSense, I2SL, FEMP, and others that can be utilized to support laboratory design, water management, or water auditing to improve overall efficiency. These resources include tools to evaluate potential for using alternative water sources (e.g., rainwater, air conditioning condensate) instead of potable water.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand water management strategies to ensure water consumption and efficiency are considered in coordination with other sustainability and energy goals;
  • Identify water-using equipment within laboratories and associated best practices to operate, retrofit, and/or replace equipment to achieve maximum water efficiency;
  • Understand useful strategies for optimizing water efficiency within cooling towers and steam boilers; and
  • Introduce other resources from I2SL, WaterSense, and FEMP that support water management, efficiency, auditing, and identification of alternative sources of water.

Instructor Biography

Stephanie Tanner is the Lead Engineer for EPA’s WaterSense program. She is responsible for all technical aspects of the development of WaterSense specifications to label products, including setting efficiency and performance criteria, as well as managing the certification process. She also oversees the development and maintenance of other technical resources to assist in implementing water efficiency best practices. Prior to EPA, she managed a water efficiency program for federal facilities and wrote a number of guides to water efficiency for federal facilities, including the original Labs 21 Water Efficiency Guide for Laboratories. She holds B.S. in Marine Engineering from the Merchant Marine Academy and a Master of Engineering Management from the George Washington University.

Robbie Pickering is an environmental engineer with ERG who has provided contractor support to the EPA WaterSense program for more than 10 years. He supports the program’s specification development process for products and homes and has developed numerous technical materials to communicate best practices to residential, commercial, and institutional building sectors. He has also conducted more than 25 water assessments of federal facilities, including many of EPA’s laboratories, to identify cost-effective opportunities for reducing water consumption. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University.


FEMP Smart Labs

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), through Smart Labs, encourages energy efficiency in laboratories through a whole-building approach that enables agencies and organizations to improve the efficiency of an entire facility rather than specific laboratory components. To guide stakeholders in developing a successful Smart Labs program, the Smart Labs Toolkit describes a systematic process to help laboratory owners and operators plan, assess, optimize, and manage laboratory facilities.


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