Smart Labs

Smart Labs

A typical laboratory is 3-4 times more energy intensive than an average commercial building and can account for up to 70% of a campus’ energy footprint, making laboratories a key focal area for energy and carbon management strategies at universities, corporations, national laboratories, hospitals, and federal agencies. If all laboratory buildings in the country improved their energy efficiency by 20%, annual energy and cost savings could reach about 40 trillion BTUs and $1 billion. Accelerator partners will work together to develop standardized approaches to overcoming common barriers to energy efficiency in laboratories. DOE will help partners document model strategies that include operational changes, technological upgrades, and strategic energy management approaches.

Accelerator Map: View our Partners
Why Efficiency Adds up in Labs

Did you know a typical laboratory is 3-to-4 times more energy intensive than an average commercial building and can account for up to 70% of a given campus’ energy footprint?

Join the Smart Labs Accelerator

Commit to reducing energy use in labs by at least 20% over the next 10 years and implement no- or low-cost measures in the shorter-term.

Accelerators News

The latest Energy Department breaking news, announcements, and updates featuring Better Buildings Accelerators.

Featured Solutions

3M improved the energy performance of one of its main laboratory buildings at 3M Center—the company’s corporate headquarters and primary research and development site—by converting the lab space ventilation system to variable air volume (VAV).
Review of UC Irvine's Smart Labs program, illustrating upgrades made to the Natural Sciences II facility.
UC Irvine's integrated “Smart Lab” program improves lab energy efficiency through an array of control and sensor technologies.

Other Resources

Case Study

This case study examines the use of educational stickers to promotes safe and efficient operation of fume hoods.

Fact Sheet

A typical laboratory is 3-to-4 times more energy intensive than an average commercial building and can account for up to 70% of a given campus’ energy footprint, making laboratories a key focal area for energy and carbon management strategies at universities, corporations, national laboratories, hospitals, and federal agencies.

Guidance

This guide describes procedures to operate ULT freezers efficiently and to improve sample access.
This document describes how to implement a fume hood sash management campaign.
This presentation illustrates how the University of Colorado optimized laboratory ventilation rates.
This presentation addresses laboratory ventilation flow rates. 
Held at the University of California Irvine (UCI) in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator, this workshop includes updated information about UCI’s Smart Labs Program and focus on topics that are important to workshop participants. Intended for laboratory building owners and their teams (including facility operation staff, energy managers, safety managers, upper management staff, laboratory users and researchers, and engineers), this workshop offers participants the chance to experience firsthand the day-to-day operations of UCI’s Smart Labs Program.

Implementation Model

UC Irvine's integrated “Smart Lab” program improves lab energy efficiency through an array of control and sensor technologies.

Partnership Agreement

Accelerator partners will set a target to improve energy efficiency across their portfolio of laboratory buildings by at least 20% in ten years or less, and select one laboratory to meet a shorter-term reduction target through a series of low- and no-cost measures and will work together to develop standardized approaches to overcoming common barriers to energy efficiency in laboratories.

Presentations

Learn about organizations that have implemented campus-wide programs to institute measures that improve laboratory efficiency and safety, also known as Smart Labs Programs. Presenters discussed how they assessed their laboratories and the impact Smart...
Ventilation is a critical component to providing a safe and productive laboratory environment. It is also one of the primary consumers of energy in most laboratory buildings. This session provided information and examples of a systematic, risk-based, demand-driven approach to managing ventilation systems.
Smart Labs Accelerator Partner Meet-Up 2018 Better Buildings Summit
Participants in this meet-up reviewed the current draft of the Smart Labs Program roadmap and the current roadmap for Smart Labs partners.
In this panel, organizations participating in the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator shared their success stories and describe the strategies they employed to cut energy consumption in their laboratories.
This session discussed a federal funding system that promotes sharing equipment, efficient use of lab space, and energy/water-efficient lab equipment and processes to maximize tight research budgets and keep unnecessary resource consumption down.
Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator partners convened to share their experiences and provide input to the Department of Energy as it prioritizes actions to drive energy savings in laboratories. 
This session described a comprehensive training program for laboratory operations and maintenance personnel, a North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge, and the results of a study on laboratory plug loads. 
Learn how we can harness big data and a suite of new “Smart Building” technologies to transform the way buildings operate with the resulting energy savings of 1 Quadrillion Btu nation-wide at 100% adoption. 
Maximizing Energy Savings in Laboratories 2015 Better Buildings Summit
Laboratory facilities are very energy intensive—using about three times more energy than an average office building. Operating a single lab fume hood can result in as much energy use as three typical homes! Explore opportunities for saving energy in labs and hear about actual implementations, including a highly successful campus-wide program.
New models are emerging for ensuring that the performance of existing building energy retrofits meet Watts per square feet requirements. Learn the ins and outs of these strategies from colleagues in the energy trenches.
This presentation focused on ways to connect sustainability to federally supported research. This has the dual benefit of reducing the environmental footprint of research and maximizing the effective use of federal dollars.
The National Laboratory Impact Initiative aims to develop a coordinated strategy of policies and programs to accelerate the commercial impact of its National Labs on the clean energy industry. 

Reports

This report summarizes the results of a DOE Better Buildings Alliance field demonstration to show the energy savings possible with high-efficiency equipment.
This document provides highlights from Better Buildings Alliance members that have optimized minimum ACR to reduce energy use while maintaining or improving safety – especially cases where the ACR has been reduced below 6 ACH1.

Showcase Projects

The Richard J. Cook Center for Environmental Science was created through a renovation of Carr Hall, establishing the first dedicated home for Allegheny College’s well-respected and long-standing Environmental Science & Studies department.
As part of a comprehensive energy reduction initiative, the Luna I Mishoe Science Center – South was selected for a spectrum of upgrades expected to reduce energy use in the building by 35% annually, with annual cost savings estimated at $68,000.
This 90,000 square foot building will support the needs of general purpose higher education by incorporating space for computer labs, lecture classrooms, learning commons, science lab, film production studio, faculty and support offices, student services, and a One-Stop center and admissions offices.
UC Irvine began the Smart Labs Initiative in 2008 as a crucial step towards making a sizeable reduction in the university’s carbon footprint.
The Dumke Health Professions Education Building (HPEB) is a 52,000 square foot mixed use building built in 1972 that includes classroom, office and clinic space for the Department of Physical Therapy and Division of Occupational Therapy.
The Health Professions and Athletics Center (HPAC) is home to Chesapeake College’s flagship health programs in nursing, radiologic science, emergency medical services, physical therapy, and surgical technology.
The South Campus of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is one of four campuses located throughout Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This facility was the largest single energy user in the entire CCAC system, and the HVAC system was maintenance-intensive. 
University of Utah performed HVAC and fume hood mehcanical upgrades, combined with new sensor and control technologies to deliver an expected 44% energy savings.
Jacobs Hall Showcase Project
Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation houses classroom, office, studio, lab, and mechanical workshop space for UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering.
3M improved the energy performance of one of its main laboratory buildings at 3M Center—the company’s corporate headquarters and primary research and development site—by converting the lab space ventilation system to variable air volume (VAV).

Specification

This energy only specification provides a description of required performance characteristics resulting in increased energy savings for ULTs in laboratories.

Video

Review of UC Irvine's Smart Labs program, illustrating upgrades made to the Natural Sciences II facility.

Webinar

Using lessons learned and experts in the field this webinar will set up your site for creating a Smart Labs Program. Prioritizing energy efficiency in labs can help organizations quickly meet their energy saving goals.

Priorities

Partners

A-Z

Argonne National Laboratory
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
Colorado School of Mines
Emory University
GSA-FDA Bothell Laboratory
International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL)
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Los Alamos National Laboratory
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
UCI Medical Center
University of Colorado
University of Illinois Chicago
University of Minnesota
University of New Hampshire
USDA Agricultural Research Service
Wesleyan University

Location

California

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
UCI Medical Center

Colorado

Colorado School of Mines
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
University of Colorado

Connecticut

Wesleyan University

Georgia

Emory University

Illinois

Argonne National Laboratory
University of Illinois Chicago

Minnesota

University of Minnesota

New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire

New Mexico

Los Alamos National Laboratory

North Dakota

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Pennsylvania

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Virginia

International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL)

Washington

GSA-FDA Bothell Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory