Labs and Their Impact on Carbon Neutrality

Steven Miller, Eversource
Tom Checksfield, 3Flow

Carbon reduction strategies are becoming a popular pathway to addressing climate change. Laboratories, with their intense energy footprint, are highly sought-after targets to reduce their carbon impact. However, the level of operational complexity makes implementing energy reduction measures challenging. Eversource has successfully developed efficiency approaches that allows labs to engage at a variety of levels.

Lab equipment selection, ultra-low temperature freezers, biosafety cabinets, and fume hood controls, are all viable touch points to impact energy use, while respecting the safety nature of laboratories. Air flow modulation has the biggest impact on energy, but is also the most complicated process to implement. Safety, science and existing HVAC design all have a part to play when looking at air flow for energy savings.

In Cambridge Massachusetts, where labs make up 17 percent of all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the city, a Net Zero Labs group is very engaged to provide the lab sector avenues to reduce their GHG footprint. One key metric yet to be formalized is the math from traditional energy savings metrics to GHG values (kilowatt-hour and therms savings to GHG/ton reduction). There is no common or universal math to have all of us talk the same language. This will be key to ensuring that the projects reflect an accurate GHG reduction measurement, especially when penalties for non-compliance are adopted. Labs have a key role in carbon neutrality.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how labs can impact regional carbon reduction strategies;
  • Discuss how greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are measured;
  • Learn how laboratory complexity is an advantage for GHG reduction programs; and
  • Understand how inaction will be costly.


Steve Miller is on the Eversource energy efficiency team and is the High Performance Labs Initiative Manager. Steve develops efficiency solutions for labs, engaging with Lab Managers, Green Lab groups and others to implement efficiency solutions based on safety, equipment and air flow requirements.

Mr. Tom Checksfield is currently Senior Vice President, Operations at 3Flow, formally Exposure Control Technologies Inc. Before joining 3Flow Mr. Checksfield worked as the General Manager at Tek-Air Systems Inc., a critical environment controls manufacturer and with Siemens Building Technologies as a Senior Account Manager, specializing in critical environmental control systems. Mr. Checksfield has over 30 years of experience in the HVAC, energy management and laboratory control fields. Mr. Checksfield is active in ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), ISPE (International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering), CETA (Controlled Environmental Testing Association), I2SL (International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories), and SEFA (Scientific Equipment & Furniture Association). Mr. Checksfield has been a keynote speaker for several of these organizations covering topics related to "Establishing control banding techniques in laboratories", "Saving energy in labs", "Ways to develop a lab ventilation management program", "ASHRAE 90.1 and its use in lab environments", "The importance of air flow measurement" along with many others. Mr. Checksfield sits on several committees for the development of best practices and codes for lab design and sustainability.


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