Proven Sustainability Concepts Applied to Life Science Facilities

Scott Kreitlein, BHDP Architects

This presentation will focus on sustainable and energy conservation planning and design concepts for life science laboratories. Special attention and detail will be given to vivarium. The high cost to construct, operate, and maintain these highly sophisticated and technically challenging building types demand a new innovative approach to minimizing the energy requirements they require to operate safely, effectively and efficiently.

Through the use of revolutionary examples recently designed and constructed, such as the Wright State University and its use of energy saving equipment, processes, and practical sustainable design approaches with proven results will be shared and discussed in detail. Ways to evaluate time and energy saving operational concepts will be identified for optimal application. The latest in laboratory research and animal husbandry equipment will be described and analyzed based upon life cycle costs and return on investment. Examples of such technology would include advancements in thermoelectric and compressor technology, high performance exhaust systems, LED lighting fixtures, and energy conservation individually ventilated caging systems, to name a few.

Sustainable planning and design solutions established in several universities and federal government institutions concentrate on forward-thinking workflow and standard operating procedures that reduce animal and personnel movement and natural resources, while maximizing research results and efficacy. Statistics, illustrated through charts, graphs and diagrams, will be shared with attendees that prove success in some areas, and inform opportunities for improvement in others. The presentation will also explore potential applications in other related facilities similar in size and programmatic composition.

Additional supporting information relative to vivarium planning and operational sustainable design concepts will be derived from the experience obtained from the programming and design of the two- story, multi-species animal holding facility located in frigid climate of Astana, Kazakhstan for the Nazarbayev University. The extreme conditions of the Kazakh Steppe required a unique approach to many aspects of the facilities energy conservation approach to ensure proper functionality and the receipt of International AAALAC accreditation.

Learning Objectives

  • Sustainable planning and design concepts that benefit the typical vivarium;
  • Advancements in equipment and technology typically found in life sciences laboratory environments, and how the incorporation of this equipment impacts the overall sustainability plan of the building;
  • The importance of detailed analysis of workflow, standard operating procedure, and innovative engineering approaches to optimize energy conservation; and
  • Understand the unique design concepts associated with planning a life science related project in an extremely harsh climate.


Scott Kreitlein is a Discovery and Science Market Design Leader for BHDP Architects. He has over 27 years of experience in planning some of the most complex science and technology related projects in the industry. He is a recognized expert in vivarium and biocontainment facilities. His extensive portfolio of projects underscores his depth of experience in helping to create a wide range of science related research projects throughout the world. He currently serves on the board of the Arizona Chapter of I2SL and has a passion for exploring ways to reduce operating cost in the facilities he plans and designs.


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