Energy Savings and Improved Performance through Advanced Control Strategies

Eric Bratt, Merrick & Company
Yang Lu, Merrick & Company

A containment laboratory in the United States was experiencing unreliable and unresponsive airflow control and excessive energy costs. The facility required extensive recommissioning to evaluate the issues and offer recommendations. Following the teams' initial study, it was determined that improperly controlled (or uncontrollable) air valves and inappropriately placed, ducted IIB2 biosafety cabinets (BSCs) were driving control and energy use problems. The team consulted various design guidelines and redefined setpoints for the spaces to improve control, especially regarding directional airflow, while reducing energy consumption. Equipment selection, especially regarding BSCs, was carefully considered, with potential equipment changes indicated. The team created detailed spreadsheets and energy models to evaluate performance on a space-by-space basis and provided the client with estimated cost savings by implementing the changes.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the economical and environmental benefits of a IIA2 versus a IIB2 biosafety cabinet, and their appropriate applications.
  • Understand air change requirements for various laboratory spaces and their impact on overall energy usage.
  • Understand the impact of properly selected and commissioned air valves for control and sustainability.
  • Understand the impact of various guidelines on the design and performance of the HVAC system in a laboratory facility.


Eric Bratt has over 9 years of experience in HVAC and plumbing design for a variety of industries. He has been a member of Merrick's Life Science team for over 6 years. He has participated in the design of a number of BSL-2, ABSL-2, BSL-3E, BSL-3Ag, and ABSL-3 facilities. His previous experience includes healthcare and military design work.

Yang Lu has over 17 years of comprehensive design experience in all levels of HVAC, plumbing and fire protection construction for biocontainment laboratories, wet laboratories, schools, universities and government facilities (NIH, USDA, COE, GSA).


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