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Session 4-A

How to Reduce Carbon Impact While Defining and Designing a Laboratory Project

Sometimes, the "dream building" must go through a right-sizing process in order to meet budget constraints. But it's not all bad news when this must happen. When done efficiently with target-value design, the building often becomes more efficient while reducing its carbon footprint. Jeff Murray, FAIA, will take the audience through proactive strategies owners and designers can use during target-value design. Jeff will use a real-world project example of KTA-Tator's new headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and explain how they were able to right-size the building, including solutions for the building envelope, labs and offices. KTA's specialties include coatings and corrosion engineering and inspection; steel and concrete fabrication inspection; field and laboratory coatings failure analysis; environmental, health and safety consulting; and contract administration for maintenance and construction activities. KTA also distributes a complete line of the field inspection instrumentation needed to support corrosion protection projects, and provides a number of specialized Quality Assurance/Quality Control, and workplace safety training courses.


The presenters will also review energy benchmarks and how the building is currently performing.

Session 4-B

University of Cambridge (UK) Carbon-Neutral Civil Engineering Building 

This project, for the University of Cambridge, was to create a world-class engineering research building, which demonstrates low energy design and construction. The building was fully occupied in July 2019. The new Civil Engineering Building for the University of Cambridge represents the university’s current approach to designing and operating low energy buildings. The brief was that the building should be “very low energy; pleasant; zero-bling; upgradeable and well measured.” The 45,000 sq.ft building houses the Civil Engineering Division and the National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing. Functions include: 

  • Laboratories for rapid prototyping and sensor development 

  • A microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) laboratory 

  • An advanced structural testing hall for physical testing 

  • Advanced facilities for data analysis and smart construction computation 


The University applied an innovative Energy Cost -Metric (ECM) to optimise the balance between embodied energy and operational energy impacts. This metric has been developed as a tool for integrating low energy objectives into the design process alongside capital cost. The energy required to manufacture and deliver the construction materials has been considered, as well as the energy that is predicted to be consumed during building operation. The ECM discourages “green bling”; an addition that may be seen as sustainable but do not deliver in the long term, and promotes a more rigorous ranking of the most cost effective measures for minimising energy use. The metric has been used throughout the design process; for instance it informed a decision to use a steel frame instead of in-situ concrete. The decision to use a ground source heat pump to efficiently cool and heat the building also scored well using the Energy Cost Metric; installing a heat pump means that the project does not require a natural gas supply. This drove selection of a heat pump system, steel frame with pre-cast hollow core floor planks and the use of timber curtain walling mullions. The university made a clear decision not to connect into the local natural gas supply, because of the fossil fuel implications. The facade and frame embody good passive design to minimise mechanical plant, whilst ensuring good comfort conditions throughout the year. Offices are naturally ventilated with automated dampers and stack vent chimneys to facilitate night cooling of exposed concrete thermal mass. The building is designed for de-construction e.g connections between floor planks and steel beams can be easily un-bolted. The building is extremely well measured and the building is on course to meet its annual energy consumption target of 18.5 kWh/sq.ft.

Electrification in Laboratories: Aspirations and Challenges

Many organizations and institutions aspire to reduce their operational carbon footprint in accordance with the 2030 challenge. An all-electric lab design can reduce the operational carbon footprint, while also making their facilities energy-efficient. Electrification in the built environment allows us to look at buildings through a different lens to achieve this goal. User requirements, demands, and fiscal constraints are a reality that can be addressed to achieve these goals. 


While electrification in labs is commonly adopted in some regions, it is still not ubiquitous across the country. We will provide an overview and project-specific examples behind the applications of electrification specific to all-electric labs. We will discuss benefits, opportunities, and challenges to electrification. Project case studies will be presented from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, City College of San Francisco, and California State University East Bay. We will compare and contrast the spectrum of strategies across the various institutions.

Sesson 4-C
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