Campus Planning Targeting Net Zero

Dirk von Below, Flad Architects

Corporations face challenges meeting more aggressive carbon reduction goals that require thinking about net-zero energy laboratory/manufacturing buildings. Environmental, social, and governance reporting are becoming key qualifiers for investors, who measure energy/water use reductions and consider employee health/inclusiveness indicators of success.

This presentation discusses a large campus development for a biotech research/manufacturing site planning for using renewable power and generating energy on-site. These long-term goals influence decisions the design team is preparing for the energy-intensive facilities:

  1. Establishing a central utility plant that reduces using fossil fuels and is adaptable to an energy mix.
  2. Targeting and budgeting for a goal of net-zero CO2 emissions.
  3. Designing building envelopes for reducing energy loss/heat gain while maximizing comfort/ease of maintenance and roof areas for photovoltaic systems.
  4. Organizing building systems for lab modifications.
  5. Enhancing outdoor environments.
  6. Providing healthy/ergonomic workplaces.

These design choices are made with an eye on the company values and budget. The session will describe the planning process, analyze tradeoffs, and align the project with company goals. We will show that designing for a responsible future promises reduced waste of resources and provides benefits to the company/community. Using LEED certification and ENERGY STAR, the project pursued a holistic approach to sustainable design.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn campus-scale considerations for designing sustainable lab projects;
  • Understand trade-offs options when selecting sustainable strategies that maximize impact for the owner;
  • Evaluate opportunities to improve reported corporate environmental, social, and governance performance; and
  • Learn about state-of-the-art biotech laboratories.


Dirk has 31 years of comprehensive architectural experience delivering science buildings to private and institutional clients. He has managed large projects that balance state-of-the-art design, efficiency, and environmental design within a tight financial framework. Dirk's experience includes cost estimates, planning, and quality assurance.


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