University of California Riverside Case Study-Sustainability and Design Do's and Don'ts of a BSL2/BSL3 Lab Building

Don Holden, CRB

The University of California Riverside has a State of the Art, LEED Gold School of Medicine Building with a brand new BSL3 suite. The problem is that the building just didn't work well AND they could not occupy the BSL3 suite! What went wrong?

Sustainable design is only good if it works for the building and its occupants. Let's explore what we learned so that we can understand what worked and what didn't work in the design of this building. Was there too much sustainable measures incorporated in the building design, was the system too complicated for the users, was it right for the environment where it was located and how did this effect the budget?

What happened with the BSL3 suite that on the surface appeared to be well thought out but could not be used? We will examine some of the do's and don'ts of a high containment suite. We will also look at the importance of commissioning and its effect on design, schedule and budget.

Learning Objectives

  • Beyond the LEED credits what must be considered in a sustainable and well designed building.
  • What can be done to retrofit a LEED Gold Building that didn't work for the occupants and still be sustainable.
  • When dealing with buildings and laboratories where work is performed on exotic agents and potentially lethal diseases what are some of the design features that must be included.
  • The importance of commissioning in a high containment suite. Why it's important, When should they start, What effect will it have on the design and the budget?


Don has been employed at Clark, Richardson and Biskup (CRB) for more than 30 years and is currently the President of the San Diego chapter of I2SL. He has been involved in the design of many sustainable and containment facilities including ACL and BSL level 2 and 3 projects where NIH and CDC guidelines must be interpreted and followed. In the past Don has also been the ISPE San Diego Chapter President as well as Kansas City Chapter President of IES.


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