How Co-Localization of Shared Research Equipment Can Impact the Design and Engineering of Both New and Renovated Laboratory Buildings

Sean Convery, PE, Cator, Ruma & Associates
Alicia Pandimos Maurer, AIA, LEED-AP BD&C, CannonDesign

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As a follow-up to a recent webinar about shared resources in laboratories, typically freezers, this presentation will expand on the impacts of co-locating freezers and other equipment in regards to architecture and MEP building systems.

In the past, researchers would purchase, install and maintain their own equipment including freezers, centrifuges, and incubators among other large equipment that could be shared. From an architectural and MEP design standpoint, these distributed pieces of equipment require distributed dedicated power, space, access, and air conditioning all built into a larger lab--taking away precious floor space that could be used as program research space. From an energy perspective, when equipment is distributed it is usually conditioned as part of the larger lab, which forces the air change rates and air conditioning to be higher than needed for the space. With single-pass air, there is often less energy recovered by going through conventional energy recovery systems versus a point-of-use air conditioning system.

This presentation will focus on various methods to approach this issue from a building design perspective, and will use examples of past projects to illustrate these newer practices.

Learning Objectives

  • Analyze architectural methods of co-locating freezers and other critical equipment into dedicated equipment rooms;
  • Identify methods for cooling of equipment rooms;
  • Investigate reliability strategies for these critical equipment rooms; and
  • Analyze lessons learned for co-locating equipment.


Sean Convery, PE is a Mechanical Principal at Cator, Ruma & Associates and President of the Colorado I2SL Chapter. Sean's 25 years of mechanical design experience includes energy-efficient mechanical systems for wet and dry research labs, critical environments, government projects, veterinary medicine, healthcare, and museums requiring tight humidity tolerance. He has been involved in the design of over 80 lab projects, many of them Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL-3).

Alicia Pandimos Maurer is a Senior Vice President and market sector leader at CannonDesign focused in Southern California. Her specialties include high performance envelope design, genetics, gene and cell therapy, personalized medicine, microbiology, cell culture, PCR and sequencing labs. Alicia is an experienced sustainability specialist and LEED consultant focused on bringing this knowledge to other professionals. She helped found the Colorado chapter of I2SL, sit on the San Diego I2SL board, and continues to focus on peer education.


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