Greener Labs for Fewer Greenbacks (v2.0)

Blake Jackson, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates

'Greener Labs for Fewer Greenbacks (v2.0)' revisits a presentation from I2SL-2010: 'Greener Labs for Fewer Greenbacks', which looked at two (2009) studies '10 Tools for Lab Design' and 'The Cost of LEED'. The first looked at 10 innovative ideas for efficient lab design, and the later explained cost premiums associated with individual LEED-NC(v2009) credits, as well as their synergies will other credits. 'Greener Labs for Fewer Greenbacks' showed applying both studies in unison could successfully achieve greener labs with little to no added cost premium.

In 2014, TK&A updated both studies. Seeing the original '10 Tools' as current standard best practices, we worked with partners from Bard, Rao + Athanos Consulting Engineers to imagine 10 new innovations. This time, the tools focused on opportunities specific to making greener labs (often overlooked on typical LEED projects), which like the original '10 Tools' would help inform the design process to enable better environmental stewardship, long-term savings and occupancy engagement.

Simultaneously, TK&A with LWDA, AHA Consulting Engineers and Vermeulens updated, 'The Cost of LEED', to consider the changes following adoption of LEED-v4. This study, 'The Cost of LEEDv4' looks individually at each LEED-NC credit and provides cost information based on trended data from projects in the northeast US (applicable in all regions). It is useful when considering LEED strategies on projects because it gives associated cost premiums per credit and also points out synergies with other credits so teams can create credit 'bundles' to better facilitate integrated systems on projects with real-world budgets. It also compares LEEDv2009 and LEEDv4 to help teams overcome the learning curve associated with the new system. The study will be published by BuildingGreen in 2015.

'Greener Labs for Fewer Greenbacks(v2.0) shows how both tools justify higher-performing, cost-effective, sustainable lab design. This presentation will provide a brief overview of both studies. Then, it will focus on the '10 Tools' as they relate to v4. The focus of the presentation will be to demonstrate how they work in unison to promote cost-effective strategies for higher performing labs, enabling the pursuit of upper thresholds of v4 certification, even net zero energy design. These '10 tools' address the whole building: 1) Reduced LPD, 2) Data Management, 3) Cogen, 4) Heat Pumps, 5) Resiliency, 6) Renewables, 7) Dashboards, 8)Resource Sharing, 9) BECx and 10) Rethinking Lab Exhaust & Ventilation. The speaker will explore each 'tools', the impetus behind its selection, its real-world application, and the cost/LEED impacts. This presentation is open to anyone interested in green lab design.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to identify 10 cost-effective solutions for sustainable lab design applicable in their current or next projects.
  • Participants will learn how the '10 tools' apply toward LEED certification and beyond, potentially opening the door for net zero energy (NZE) design.
  • Participants will learn how to mitigate roadblocks to incorporation of the '10 tools' on their projects through an integrated design approach.
  • Participants will learn how to apply 'The Cost of LEEDv4' on laboratory projects through integrated decision making.


Blake Jackson, AIA is the Sustainability Practice Leader for Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, a Cambridge, MA architecture, planning and interiors firm specializing in healthcare, labs, commercial, and higher education sectors. Mr. Jackson's role infuses sustainable design measures across their portfolio, including LEED management, building simulation, and architectural design. He earned his BArch from Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta and his MArch from the AA Graduate School in London.


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