A Proactive Design Strategy For Facility Managers of Laboratory Environments.
Sandlin, Darrell R.
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The Facility Manager of a laboratory environment continuously walks a fine line between safe and economical operation of that facility. The primary responsibility of the laboratory is to provide a safe environment for personnel while optimizing the space for experiment. Energy efficiency is not a necessary goal. Laboratories typically require HVAC systems utilizing 100% outside air to protect the occupants. Facilities demanding the basic design requirement of 100% outside air can result in annual energy costs 4 to 5 times greater than that of the typical office building requiring 20 CFM per person. With energy costs typically representing a substantial part of an organizations operating budget is it prudent for facility managers to seek opportunities to reduce these costs. The intent of this research is to show that participation of a knowledgeable Facility Manager, during the initial design phase of a laboratory facility, can result in a finished product capable of easily incorporating a variety of energy efficiency technologies. The scope of this research is limited to smaller chemical laboratories supported with less than 20,000 CFM of comfort air. When the Facility Manager actively participates in the design process for laboratory environments there is potential for increased HVAC energy efficiency. A substantial portion of this research has been conducted from the authors daily experience and responsibility for a small chemical laboratory. Additional data was collected using personal interviews among industry experts and fellow colleagues working in the Atlanta metropolitan area with significant laboratory experience. This research focused on the mechanical systems supporting laboratories as they represent the largest percentage in first costs, energy consumption, and offer the greatest opportunity for energy reduction. The results of this research are intended to provide guidance to Facility Managers to incorporate cost effective energy recovery systems in either new construction or at a future date. The results of this research project the impact of energy consumption in a small chemical laboratory from the hypothetical installation of a customized energy recovery system.