Sustainable Lab Design....So Much More Than a Great HVAC System

Amy Tongay, HERA Laboratory Planners
Carlos Perez-Rubio, HERA Laboratory Planners

As notorious energy consumers, the laboratory mechanical and electrical systems are typically the focus of sustainability initiatives in laboratories. While these systems are of paramount importance for the success of any well-designed laboratory, let us not be remiss to address architectural opportunities available to further the design. Utilizing ‘lean' planning, modularity, zoning and scalability creates the framework for future adaptability and integration of the building systems. The integration of climate appropriate natural light can enhance comfort, increase productivity and enliven laboratory spaces all while reducing energy and operating costs. As one of the largest contributor of heat and electrical loads, equipment selection is more than identifying models with lower energy uses, it also requires capacity and volume analysis with the end-user to right size the quantity equipment. Utilizing green interior products in inventive ways allows for environments that can be the catalyst for the next great discovery or learning opportunity.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to correlate interior lab modules and exterior building elements for maximum building efficiency.
  • Investigate how equipment selection and methods for integration affect facility energy consumption.
  • Explore options for maximizing natural light to reduce energy, enhance comfort, prodocutivity and health.
  • Discuss techniques for seamlessly integrating engineering and nature harvesting systems with laboratory architecture.


Amy provides expertise in all phases of projects from programming and master planning, to design and construction for laboratory facilities of all types. Her attention to detail ensures that her projects meld together the unique needs of the science with aesthetic and sustainable considerations to deliver lean and healthy environments for research, clinical, simulation and core labs for health, academic and industry clients.

Carlos brings comprehensive experience in designing diverse laboratory types. He has a thorough understanding of the technical issues involved in laboratory environments and their support systems. His strengths are in humanizing the environment for those that spend the majority of their day in laboratories. He has excellent skills in organizing and coordinating the collaborative efforts of client groups and design professionals to achieve the project goals in an efficient and successful process.


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