Comprehensive Evaluation of Smart Labs Program After a Decade

Wendell Brase, University of California, Irvine

UC Irvine pioneered the "Smart Labs" design concept more than a decade ago, in partnership with I2SL leaders Gordon Sharp, Thomas Smith, and Otto Van Geet. A "smart lab" utilizes zone-specific air quality measurement backed up by a fault-detection and performance measurement informatics layer. This approach has now been employed across UC Irvine for both retrofitted pre-2010 lab buildings and all newly constructed lab buildings since 2010, of which all have been awarded LEED Platinum. This strategy was pursued based on business case assumptions, as well as energy/sustainability objectives. Now that we have more than a decade of results across a complete fleet comprising numerous types of laboratories, a comprehensive evaluation of whether both the business case and the sustainability goals have been attained is now possible, including whether any unanticipated outcomes were encountered, and whether any operational or safety compromises were endured.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the business case for Smart Lab design;
  • Understand the sustainability case for Smart Lab design;
  • Understand the life-cycle costs and benefits of Smart Labs; and
  • Understand the key factors for a successful launch of a Smart Labs program.


Wendell Brase is Associate Chancellor - Sustainability at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to his current role he was administrative vice chancellor at UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz. He also co-chairs the University of California Global Climate Leadership Council.


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