Living Within the Shell: Sustainable Laboratory Design in Tight Spaces

Michelle Fennell, Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers
Christopher Hardy, Ellenzweig

Existing building renovations create unique challenges for laboratory spaces in many ways. This session will go through the case study of a teaching laboratory that included a full building renovation and a new addition with limited floor to floor height. Attendants will learn how space constraints resulted in energy efficient system selection, and the various technologies that helped the project achieve more than 25% energy and energy cost savings on a tight budget. Specific applications and lessons learned will be incorporated.

Learning Objectives

  • The attendees will be able to compare several energy savings measures and their impact on a lab.
  • The attendees will be able to recognize the limitations of various cooling systems and the additional challenges they create.
  • The attendees will be able to assess the space constraints of a project and recognize the need for specialty solutions.
  • The attendees will be able to set priorities for maximizing energy and space savings and understand the impact on each other.


Michelle Fennell has over 8 years of experience in the fields of HVAC Engineering, Energy, and Sustainability. As both an HVAC Engineer and Sustainability Coordinator at BR+A, she has been involved in the engineering of HVAC systems, energy modeling and sustainable project management. Michelle is a LEED Accredited Professional, an active member of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and serves as Secretary of the I2SL Benchmarking Working Group.

Christopher Hardy is an Associate and Project Manager at Ellenzweig; he has more than 10 years of architectural experience, with an emphasis on academic research, teaching facilities, and sustainability. Chris is a LEED Accredited Professional whose experience includes managing and coordinating large, multidisciplinary projects with service scopes ranging from feasibility and master planning studies to programming, design, and construction administration.


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