Developing a Sustainable Lab Design From Project Inception Through Building Life Cycle

Tom Checksfield, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc.
Jacob Werner, Wilson Architects

This topic will serve as a blueprint for designing a safe and efficient lab, capable of maintaining sustainability from the beginning and right through the building life cycle itself. It starts with getting the owner engaged by conducting a lab ventilation risk assessment. From here the MEP engineer will be able to design the HVAC system closer to what is required while having the flexibility for accommodating future growth. Risk is now evaluated and designed to. Furthermore, this risk analysis becomes one of the tools used to manage change. Lab management stakeholders will now have a vehicle to communicate and manage the changing lab requirements. Utilizing a risk assessment strategy with the owner at initial design takes the risk off of the design team and establishes the foundation for developing and maintaining a lab ventilation management program (LVMP) by the owner. Designing to appropriate ACR's based on actual risk allows for a more energy efficient design from the start. It takes the guess work out of initial capacity design. Creating "trigger points" allows lab management to dynamically see lab ventilation change requirements. Control bands and associated ACR's can be adjusted both for safety and energy savings by tracking these trigger points. Being able to change the lab ventilation based on current requirements is the definition of a "Smart Lab". From design, through construction, owner turnover and finally the entire building life cycle itself, this presentation will show ways to manage safety, energy savings and continued sustainability from "cradle to grave".

Learning Objectives

  • See how to shift risk from the design team to the owner and make it the basis for managing future change
  • Learn how to mitigate lab turnover issues after construction.
  • See how building a lab ventilation management program (LVMP) into the beginning of design will benefit all stakeholders and ensure the ability to maintain a sustainable design.
  • Understand how to create and manage "trigger points" for risk assessment and associated control banding strategies for a complex and dynamic research lab environment


Mr. Tom Checksfield is currently Senior Vice President, Business Operations at Exposure Control Technologies Inc. Before joining ECTI Mr. Checksfield worked as the General Manager at Tek-Air Systems Inc. Mr. Checksfield has over 30 years of experience in the HVAC, energy management and laboratory control fields. Mr. Checksfield is active in ASHRAE, CETA, I2SL and SEFA. Mr. Checksfield has been a speaker at these organizations covering several topics relating to lab safety and sustainability.

Jacob specializes in the planning and design of laboratory buildings. An experienced project manager and architect, he is heavily involved in every aspect of the design process, from lab planning to construction field observation. He recently completed two laboratories for the University of Massachusetts, both of which received AIA awards for design excellence. He is currently overseeing a third, complex project for UMass, the Physical Sciences Building. As Wilson Architects' Director of Sustainable Design, Jacob focuses on energy efficiency research and innovation for laboratories. He has extensive experience with LEED, energy modeling, life cycle cost analysis, utility incentives, and measurement and verification. He oversees Wilson Architects' AIA 2030 Commitment and LEED certification processes.


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