A ZNE Lab Building: The First Year of Operation

Jacob Knowles, Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers
Nathan Butt, Sasaki

Come learn the details of how we achieved zero net energy for a 50,000 square foot academic medical, dental, bio and chem laboratory building at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA. We will share the successes and lessons learned from the concept phase through the first year of operation.

Although we have presented this project before, this will be the first time we will have the data to present the actual energy performance of the building. We also want you to learn from the countless hours we spent developing the design and commissioning the building operation. Ultimately, our presentation gives owners, architects, and engineers the tools to cost effectively achieve ZNE on your next lab building.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the key strategies necessary to achieve ZNE in a laboratory building.
  • Identify opportunities to simultaneously enhance occupant health and safety, while reducing energy consumption.
  • Make the case for zero net energy through cost effective holistic solutions.
  • Achieve similar game-changing ZNE performance on your next project.


As Director of Sustainable Design at BR+A Consulting Engineers, Jacob Knowles heads our NET+ sustainability consulting team. He has championed the sustainability agenda for over twenty million square feet of research, healthcare and other technical buildings. Project highlights include LEED Platinum, Zero Net Energy and the award of major MADOER Grants.

As an architect and urbanist, Nathan's work at Sasaki Architects is inspired by his family background of active engagement in the ecology and biology of place. He views the built environment as human habitat, and he designs with the goal of encouraging human interaction, sustainable living, and a connection with the larger ecology of a place. His recent project experience includes this net-zero energy laboratory and STEM-centric laboratory master planning efforts at two universities.


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