It's Electric! Learn the Moves for Decarbonizing the Thermal Energy and Process Equipment in Labs

Paul Erickson, Affiliated Engineers, Inc (AEI)

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Renewables will continue to replace fossil fuels in organizations' primary/second energy mix. This trajectory, combined with organizations choosing to decarbonize via offsets and PPAs, and others being part of communities banning natural gas, catalyzes the need for the lab design community to effectively design all-electric facilities. Conversion to all-electric heating comes with a host of considerations, from equipment and system solutions to electrical system design impacts and effective utility demand management. Some of these considerations may need attention and planning at a campus infrastructure level, while for some projects, individual buildings will present opportunities to pursue this paradigm shift.

In parallel, design teams, owners and users need to consider the alternate technologies and approaches necessary for changing to all-electric lab process equipment. Within all of these solutions are opportunities to choose options that improve upon energy and water performance, but in almost all cases the electrical utility implications will present differences and challenges from the status quo. Cost, maintenance, space, and operational expenditures will figure into the calculus. This presentation will break down these various facets and discuss the available equipment, innovative system configurations, efficient solutions, and alternatives that can be considered on all-electric lab projects. Using case studies and different climates, insights about different approaches will be shared.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain an overview of the many factors precipitating these shifts;
  • Gain an understanding of current approach to all-electric lab equipment and elimination of natural gas-fired equipment;
  • Appreciate the array of all-electric building design technologies and high-performance strategies that can be leveraged in the design of different lab types; and
  • Gather insight on the key items to be considered in the planning process for stand-alone buildings and those on campuses.


As AEI's Building Performance Practice Leader, Paul Erickson, LEED AP BD+C, manages the firm's sustainable design services and champions high performance design on projects around the country. As a principal and project manager on higher ed, laboratory, and other project types, he is dedicated to integrated design, driving innovation, utilizing a host of performance simulation tools, and ensuring that design solutions can be operated and maintained in the long term.


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