top of page
Session 3-A

Low-Carbon Labs: Embodied Carbon and What You Can Do About It

Laboratory building embodied carbon is significant, due to intensive structure, finishes, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Recent projects are experimenting with designs uncommon to labs: cross-laminated timber structure, wood cladding, demountable partitions, and casework options. Low-Carbon Labs collects these into a common framework for evaluating their carbon benefits. The project evaluates three choices for 12 different building systems within a 22' x 88' lab module. Choices are aligned with three scenarios on a spectrum from conservative to progressive embodied carbon design. Baseline includes system options found in conventional labs. Improved represents options found in progressive projects. Reimagined represents best options discovered for each system. This presentation summarizes the findings of Low-Carbon Labs and explores how these lessons might translate to future low-carbon building projects.

Session 3-B

Reversing Global Warming Through the Built Lab Space

As awareness about the impact of carbon emissions grows, companies in every sector and of every size are setting goals to reduce their climate impact. But how do we decide what to prioritize? This course defines carbon emissions and the impact of human activity on the natural carbon cycle, while providing insight into how pharmaceutical and health science companies can measure and reduce their climate impact. Then the discussion turns to carbon emissions in the design and construction industry, and why they matter so much in the context of a changing climate. Designers and portfolio owners of labs and biotechnology facilities have a real opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and foster healthier human communities at the same time.

Creating Interactive Lab Facilities That Minimize Embodied Carbon

Emerging from the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no substitute for in-person collaboration, research, and education. Designing laboratory buildings that are collaborative continues to be a critical issue, but equally important will be how to maximize embodied carbon efficiency. Minimizing embodied carbon is the critical path for achieving our 2030 goals of carbon reduction, so labs will need to be designed with low embodied carbon footprints.

This presentation will go through case studies and numerous strategies of the design process on how to make an interactive facility with "science on display" while maximizing the embodied carbon performance. But "putting science on display" is not just about creating collaborative and visible research spaces, it is also about following a design process that listens to the science of embodied carbon.

This presentation will showcase design strategies that are used to design an interactive laboratory facility with low embodied carbon through: 1) an effective use of the program to right size; 2) early and sequential carbon modeling through Tally and EC3; 3) careful selection and specification of low carbon materials; and 4) an integrated and sustainable design approach that tracks operational and embodied carbon.


The presenters will use case studies from numerous public educational and research laboratory facilities, as well as private sector research laboratories, to demonstrate these different strategies.

Sesson 3-C
bottom of page