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Smart Labs Accelerator Toolkit

A key goal of the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator was to help organizations optimize the performance of their laboratories by mitigating safety and health risks, reducing energy, and improving ventilation. Based on the input, real-world experience, and insights from partners, DOE has compiled this toolkit. It is set up as a step-by-step guide and is easy to use. Each step of the toolkit contains additional tasks, resources, and deliverables that guide your organization through a systems-based management approach.



  • Creating a Smart Labs program takes coordination, innovation, and a strong team effort, making planning essential to success. This section provides resources for how to start planning your Smart Labs program and develop a Smart Labs roadmap. Once a Smart Labs program is established, continue to revisit these planning resources as the program grows, matures, and expands efforts to the entire campus.
  • Deliverable - Smart Labs Roadmap


  • Once the team has a roadmap for the Smart Labs program, the next step is to thoroughly assess the first building on the roadmap. Comparing the baseline performance metrics to design specifications and safety requirements will enable the Smart Labs team to identify appropriate measures and opportunities to optimize laboratory system performance. The goal of this phase is to identify areas in which the lab facility can be improved.
  • Deliverable - Scope of Work for Lab Upgrades


  • The Optimize phase involves executing the scope of work proposed in the Assess phase through appropriated funding or a financing mechanism. Laboratory buildings vary in age, size, function, and type of systems. Depending on the state of the systems, safety objectives, energy goals, and available funds, optimization projects can range from the implementation of simple, no- or low-cost measures to full-scale renovation of buildings involving highly complex and costly measures. This part of the toolkit includes guidance on:
    • Project funding and bidding process
    • Implementation of improvement measures, from large-scale renovations to simple upgrades.
  • Deliverable - Building Management Plan


  • High-performance buildings can be challenging to maintain, especially in laboratories where changes in leadership, research staff, or operations are common. This section of the toolkit focuses on how to maintain operations through a continuous cycle of management, assessment, and optimization.
  • Deliverable - Smart Labs Performance Reports