Breaking Down Laboratory Energy Use Impact of Design Criteria on Energy Use & Defined Sustainability Goals

Michael Walsh, R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP

This presentation will outline the impact of the various project design criteria driving energy use intensity in a laboratory building. The analysis of energy use in a chemical engineering and biomedical engineering facility will highlight the order of magnitude energy impact of code ventilation rates, exhausted equipment (fume hoods), internal equipment plug loads, people sensible and latent loads, lighting loads and envelope loads. We will also discuss how building and space-to-space pressurization criteria can add to energy use intensity of a facility. The breakdown will highlight how a design team can help their client identify the optimum solution for their project.

The presentation will then outline some of the energy recovery techniques used to reduce the project annual usage which included the use of multiple energy recovery components and the application of these time tested technologies in unique ways to optimize the energy savings impact.

Finally the presentation will discuss the various judgement criteria that can be applied to any project including reduced EUI, lower energy cost as well as reduction in carbon emissions that need to be discussed and prioritized for each project. Adding to the complexity of the discussion is that each of the above criteria changes if the building is served by a campus utility plant or standalone heating and cooling plant which take advantage of efficient plant operations to help meet defined goals.

While reducing energy use wherever possible should be the goal of every project, understanding the order of magnitude impact of each of the above design criteria will help design teams focus on those that have the biggest energy or energy cost impact.

Learning Objectives

  • Attendees will learn how to perform sensitivity analyses and breakdown the energy use impact of various project design criteria.
  • Attendees will see the impact of ab vary significantly when reporting energy use of a standalone building with heating and cooling plant versus purchased chilled water or heating hot water/steam use.
  • Attendees will have a better understanding of the various project goals that may apply including EUI , Energy Cost, Life Cycle Cost and Carbon Emission.
  • After prioritization of goals, user will see the actual breakdown of how each criteria impacts the above project goals.


Michael is a Principal and HVAC Technical Director at Vanderweil promoting innovative and sustainable HVAC system design solutions. Mike has spent 30 years focusing on the design of HVAC systems to serve over 7,500,000 SF of space including animal facilities, BSL-2 & BSL-3 labs, biomedical research, public health, interdisciplinary science and forensic laboratories. Mr. Walsh is an ASHRAE, I2SL (formerly Labs 21) and an International Code Council member.


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