A Shift to Centralized Animal Cage-Washing at Yale University: Perspectives From Operation and Utility Costs

Christopher Incarvito, Yale University
Kimberly Heard, Yale University - West Campus

As part of a collection of ambitious and integrated capital projects supporting Yale's neuroscience research initiatives, a new centralized support facility for the Yale Animal Resource Center (YARC) has been proposed with construction anticipated to begin in late 2020. Originally conceived as two-phase project, the initial phase of 30,000 square feet would include new automation systems for washing and sterilization, storage and accumulation space, staff facilities and offices, a new loading dock, and supporting infrastructure.

Through the design process the stakeholders were faced with operational and financial challenges, many of which were synergistic or had shared dependencies. This presentation will look at how changes in operational models are aligned with specific utility cost targets without compromise to programmatic need. Considerations for a remote location, new transportation workflows, changes in staff responsibilities and skills, and an increase in animal census will also be presented.

Learning Objectives

  • Discover principles used for designing centralized cage-washing facilities;
  • Learn how to balance the overall energy consumption with programmatic need by offsetting utility costs to staff schedules, streamlining workflows, and leading change-management;
  • Learn how utility cost-driven designs can inform new operational modes, including changes to staff behavior; and
  • Learn how previous sustainability initiatives and expectations inform new projects.


Chris joined Yale University in 2002 and is currently appointed the Associate Provost for Science Initiatives. In this role, he has broad responsibility for strategic planning and programmatic development in support of Yale's Science Strategy, an ambitious prioritization of interdisciplinary and integrative initiatives that will catalyze new research programming and supplement existing research excellence.

Kimberly is the Associate Director of Research Operations at Yale's West Campus. In this role she leads the logistical support of multidisciplinary research programs through establishment and coordination of various laboratory support services. She is chief technical advisor for construction and renovation in lab spaces, develops programs to enhance research capabilities, assists in faculty recruitment and space planning, and serves as the campus point for ensuring positive lab safety culture.


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