Integrating Management of Laboratory Ventilation Systems to Save Energy and Improve Safety

Deirdre Carter, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will present on a new integrated laboratory ventilation management program, which it developed with support from the DOE Smart Labs Accelerator and consultants from 3Flow. The program is managed jointly by Sustainable Berkeley Lab and the Lab's Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Facilities divisions.

Berkeley Lab's EHS has a well-established ventilation program that regularly calibrates fume hood controllers to maintain proper face velocity to protect researchers and occupants. However, this program has not adequately monitored the rest of the ventilation system including zone ventilation airflow, pressurization, exhaust airflow, and building-level supply and exhaust air systems.

The integrated laboratory ventilation management program relies heavily on an in-house ongoing commissioning (OCx) team that follows a rigorous process to identify, fix, and commission building operational issues that affect energy use. As part of the program, the Lab has developed a new information layer, based on Skyspark, to bring the Lab's building automation systems, ventilation database, and metering data together into a single environment. This information layer provides unprecedented visibility into ventilation system issues that affect safety and facilitates ongoing commissioning.

The program was developed based on risk and mechanical system evaluations of four laboratory facilities (three existing and one under construction) and a pilot program in two of the buildings beginning in 2019. Next steps for Berkeley Lab's integrated laboratory ventilation management program are to more deeply explore risk-based ventilation setpoints at the room and building levels as well as develop tools to assist during emergency operations.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand an approach to integrated laboratory ventilation management;
  • Learn how maintenance activities on building ventilation systems can affect safety when not coordinated between departments;
  • Understand an approach to ongoing commissioning of laboratory mechanical systems; and
  • Understand the value of information technology systems to improve safety and save energy.


Deirdre Carter, PE is the Energy and Sustainability Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She works on reducing Berkeley's Lab electricity, natural gas, and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through building energy management and efficiency to meet DOE and University of California sustainability goals. She holds a M.S. from Stanford University and B.S.E. from Duke University, both in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer.


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