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Session 6-A

UK’s o2h Co-Work Labs Adaptive Reuse Project

o2h co-work labs have added 3 vibrant energy efficient cell biology labs into a derelict 300 year old listed building that people thought was impossible to do. These labs create a sustainable lab based use from a vandalised heritage asset blending the old and new. It was a four year project combining the elite craftsmen along with the best engineering expertise available. The project has gone live and has become an icon of the Cambridge life science scene. 


Hauxton House is a building of special architectural or historic interest. This sensitive retrofit project demonstrates how existing buildings and structures can be repurposed for specialised scientific work through careful planning and an in-depth knowledge of the sector.


The ambition was to build a creative hub where small-scale scientific start-ups could come together and collaborate within a relaxed and open environment that also displayed a strong affinity with the spirit of its waterside location. The building required extensive re-servicing, particularly to allow for controlled environments within the laboratory spaces and through the high-pressure mist sprinkler system installed throughout the building. This was executed by carefully working with the limitations of the protected building fabric, to fully conceal or ‘consciously expose’ service elements to stand in stark contrast with original elements and not detract from the building form.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Two Renovations

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign renovated two of the key laboratory buildings in the College of Engineering: the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) and the Nick Holonyak, Jr. Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (HMNTL). The renovations resulted in significantly improved energy efficiency and functionality for these two facilities, saving the university more than US$500,000 a year.

At the MRL, a phased HVAC renovation was performed with the building remaining fully occupied by students and researchers. Five major air handlers were replaced with two central dual-path, low-velocity AHUs. Sixty lab exhaust fans were replaced with three high-plume exhaust fans with heat pipe heat recovery. Overall air distribution was changed to a low-velocity displacement ventilation, variable air volume system. This project covered about 5,000 square feet of lab space, including a 4,000-square-foot ISO 7 cleanroom laboratory for development and manufacturing of silicon wafer integrated circuit boards.

The HMNTL project included a 400-square-foot renovation to create new ISO 5, 6, and 7 laboratory space for student development and manufacturing of silicon wafer integrated circuit boards. The mechanical design included new air-handling equipment, HEPA and ULPA filtration, toxic and solvent exhaust, high-purity gas distribution, and particulate demand-controlled ventilation. Energy conservation measures recommended for existing cleanrooms in the building were also implemented.

Session 6-B

Million Advocates for Sustainable Science: Spurring Funder Action to Expect Sustainability in Research

Research cannot happen without money; therefore, the money funding research is a powerful influencer. What expectations are being set by grant funders in terms of sustainability and efficiency in the way research is conducted? In the face of climate change and world-wide environmental degradation research funders could be leading the way, but, unfortunately, there is little action by grant funders despite the large environmental footprint of scientific research. In the United States, the federal overhead rate calculation process rewards research institutions with higher rates (and thus more money) when they are inefficient, and U.S. grant application opportunities often expect scientists to use funding to purchase equipment for their individual labs rather than encouraging the use of existing or shared equipment already present at a research institution. But researchers and sustainability advocates can demand change through the Million Advocates for Sustainable Science (MASS) letter signing campaign launched by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. MASS also encourages organizations such as non-profits, academic institutions, or departments/groups at research institutions to sign the letter. 

Sesson 6-C
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