Abstract: Energy-Efficient Research Laboratories

This document--A Design Guide for Energy-Efficient Research Laboratories--provides a detailed and holistic framework to assist designers and energy managers in identifying and applying advanced energy-efficiency features in laboratory-type environments. The Guide fills an important void in the general literature and compliments existing in-depth technical manuals. Considerable information is available pertaining to overall laboratory design issues, but no single document focuses comprehensively on energy issues in these highly specialized environments. Furthermore, practitioners may utilize many antiquated rules of thumb, which often inadvertently cause energy inefficiency. The Guide helps its user to: introduce energy decision-making into the earliest phases of the design process, access the literature of pertinent issues, and become aware of debates and issues on related topics. The Guide does focus on individual technologies, as well as control systems, and important operational factors such as building commissioning. However most importantly, the Guide is intended to foster a systems perspective (e.g. "right sizing") and to present current leading-edge, energy-efficient design practices and principles.

Laboratory-type facilities represent an important segment of the building stock, especially when considered in terms of energy intensity and overall consumption. In California, for example, there are over 50 million square feet of laboratory-type space. Energy intensities are often five-times higher than those found in ordinary (non-laboratory) buildings, such as offices. In the case of cleanrooms, intensities are 10-100-times higher, depending on classification. In 1993, California laboratory facilities were responsible for 8.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity demand (2100 megawatts) and 21 trillion BTUs of natural gas demand. In the absence of energy-efficiency improvements, projected growth is 131% (3.9%/year) to the year 2015. The corresponding energy cost in 1993 was $700 million annually, growing to $1640 million by the year 2015. We estimate an overall savings potential of 50% in new and existing laboratory facilities. [Mills et al., 1996]

Bell, G.C., P.E., E. Mills, Ph.D., D. Sartor, P.E., D. Avery, M. Siminovitch, Ph.D., M. A. Piette. A Design Guide for Energy-Efficient Research Laboratories, LBNL-PUB-777, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Center for Building Science, Applications Team. September 1996.


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