Papers, Ph.D. students, and so on make up the traditional outputs of science laboratories, but these days energy consumption matters more and more. That consumption includes the energy to condition the air and drive the analytical platforms. Disposable plastic, reagents, and other items also contribute to a lab’s consumption. Those consumables raise growing concerns as labs around the world strive to be more efficient, more “green.” Today’s vendors supply more options than ever to build a green operation. Nonetheless, much more work needs to be done to modernize labs.
The creation of sustainable, high-performance and efficient buildings is growing in importance for companies and governments around the world for both economic and environmental reasons. In particular, laboratories are the focus of many of these reduction efforts as they are some of the largest consumers of energy due to the specialized equipment and ventilation systems required for safety and compliance.
Q: Describe a recent laboratory design/ build or retrofit at your organization.
Since energy and natural resource consumption are huge components of a lab’s operating expenses, no lab design today ignores “green” issues.
Securing project funds is the first step in the process, and an initial “visioning” workshop with the core team is a good way to establish a budget, notes Mark Paskanik, senior associate at Perkins+Will (Cary, NC). “The visioning workshop helps to align the team members and build consensus on goals.” Once this scope is defined, project managers may leverage business strategies already in place to begin selling the idea to the board or steering team that is usually responsible for establishing or approving the initial budget. “Many times, when there is not enough focus on this first step, the project will not have enough momentum or buy-in to go forward.”
Here we explore three case studies on laboration expansion at an emerging metro-Boston biotech company, a small biophotonics R&D lab, and laboratories at the University of California, Irvine; showing how they dealt with the challenges they faced.
Laboratory designs are big projects that normally arise from necessity. Of new construction, expansions, and retrofits, greenfield projects cost the most and take the most time, while the latter two consume fewer resources but present varying degrees of disruption. A lab or facility manager’s involvement in laboratory design and build depends on his or her experience with design, architecture, and building trades. Typically, the relationship between “builders” and “owners” is consultative, but as we will see, more hands-on approaches are possible. This topic could fill an encyclopedia and still not exhaust even straightforward considerations such as budgets, equipment, construction codes, regulations, and the myriad designations and certifications. Here we will focus on what to expect, trends, and energy considerations. Since design/build is a project or process, we include three case studies, as well as a Q&A with managers who have recently gone through design projects.
The past 20 years have seen an explosion in laboratory construction as academic, pharmaceutical, biotech, and high-tech companies have increased the level of research and development in their respective fields. The design of these laboratories has
Automation has been defined as the use of control systems
to reduce the need for human work in the production
of goods and services. In the realm of biomedical
research or clinical testing, automation often involves processing
For many of us, our introduction to laboratory automation revolves around the formerly popular Technicon SMA (Sequential Multiple Analyzer, circa 1969) and the SMAC (SMA + C), when a computer interface was added to the platform in 1974. In the heady