How Lab Planning Should Lead the Discussion on Sustainability and Provide an Integrated, Durable and Sustainable Planning Process that Endures

Egbert Dittrich, EGNATON e.V
Victoria David, DLR Group

Coupled with the fact that Climate Change is reshaping how we build cities, science campuses and communities also move permanently forward. There is no slowing down to consider, there is no stopping because it is inherent to scientific endeavor to realize new possibilities. As lab planners and designers, we want to lead those conversations about what the built environment can be by acknowledging and embracing the impacts that climate change will continue to have on our world. While various certification systems provide a structure and ensure comparability through tenancy, the occupants of the building are the key to successful implementation to the planned sustainability level by either boycotting or embracing the solutions. Durable sustainable planning processes that includes the operation and maintenance side are therefore crucial to the subsequent design of the building.

Sustainability can only be achieved through a partnership of design, technology and users. The DGNB Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Nachthaltiges Bauen along with EGNATON has developed an integrated system for the programming, planning and design of buildings for science. The system extends certification to represent economic quality, environmental quality, sociocultural aspects, process quality, site quality and technical quality. A most important aspect of the DGNB process is that prior to certification, an operating concept and a risk analysis are performed to ensure that users are not excused from sustainable operations.

While different countries embrace different sustainability certification systems, the general consensus is that each system wants to incorporate sustainability. However, the integrated planning system represented by DGNB/EGNATON provides a framework to ensure that continuous assessment and monitoring of the operations is implemented: the onus is on the design team to rethink the programming, planning and design process to ensure that sustainability will endure throughout the life of the building. Therefore, attention needs to be made to the equipment operating processes that acknowledges the enormous energy and consumables consumption aside from the building itself.

We will introduce the DGNB/EGNATON system and provide examples of an alternative approach to planning, designing, constructing and maintaining efficient and long serving laboratory spaces with a minimum of maintenance costs and a maximum of safety.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the DGNB/EGNATON system that reconsiders the design, construction and operation of flexible and sustainable laboratory environments;
  • Identify design processes and opportunities that lead to enduring sustainability;
  • Investigate the design potential and benefits of continuous assessment strategies; and
  • Learn how sustainable laboratory operations can continually support the changing face of sustainable management, minimize maintenance costs and a maximize safety.


Egbert Dittrich studied business and mechanical engineering at the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. He has 40 years of experience in building laboratories and during his career has been the CEO of more than one laboratory equipment manufacturer. Since 1996, Mr. Dittrich has been the CEO of LABDICON-Dittrich Consulting and Since 2009, he has been the managing director of European Association of Sustainable Laboratories EGNATON.

With over 40 years experience, Ms. David has designed research, development and manufacturing facilities for a variety of national and international clients. She has served on national juries, presented at numerous national conferences, written articles for nationally recognized publications and participated on national committees -including LEEDS for Labs -dedicated to disseminating information on industry best practices. She is the Vice President and Secretary of the Colorado Chapter of I2SL.


Note: I2SL did not edit or revise abstract or biography text. Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s).