Creating a Smart Labs Program

Thomas Smith, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc.
Otto VanGeet, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

In order to create and maintain smart laboratories it is important for an institution to develop a Smart Labs program. While scattered retrofits and design changes can improve lab efficiency and safety, a step-by-step programmatic approach is preferable to obtain long-term energy savings and improvements. Tom Smith of ECT has developed a roadmap specifically for ventilation management in laboratories. Otto VanGeet has adapted this roadmap through the Smart Labs Accelerator to take a more comprehensive view of Smart Labs programmatic development. Tom will walk participants through the high level stages of Smart Labs program development. Using a real world case study of implementation at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (a partner in the Smart Labs Accelerator), Otto will detail the steps taken to create a Smart Labs program.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify requirements of a Smart Labs program.
  • Be able to execute the first steps in planning for a Smart Labs program
  • Learn about obstacles in actual implementation of a Smart Labs program.
  • Be able to identify gaps in their own laboratory management in order to improve laboratory sustainability.


Thomas C. Smith is the President of Exposure Control Technologies (ECT), Inc. For 30+ years he's worked to provide safe, efficient and sustainable labs. He has degrees in Engineering and Industrial Hygiene from NCSU and UNC. He is active professionally and served as the Chair of ASHRAE TC9.10 Laboratory Systems and the AIHA Z9 Standards. He is on the Board for I2SL and was a recent inductee to the Alumni Hall of Fame for the Mechanical Engineering Department at NCSU.

Otto is a Principal Engineer at NREL. Otto has been involved in the design, and operation of energy efficient research facilities such as labs and data centers, general use facilities, and low energy use campus and community design. Otto was one of the founding members of the Labs21 program and provides technical guidance for the program. He and his family live in an off grid passive solar house with a 2 kW PV/hybrid power system and solar water heating that he designed and built 20 years ago.


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