I2SL’s New Labs2Zero Program
Laboratories have an outsized impact on carbon emissions due to their energy-intensive nature, so it is vital to understand the steps that lab owners, managers, designers, and engineers can take to help decarbonize them. To develop a roadmap to decarbonize the world’s high-tech research facilities, I2SL is creating the Labs2Zero program, comprised of a variety of options and information that address both the complexity of laboratories and the need to make them more efficient while reducing the emissions associated with their building and operations.
Labs2Zero recognizes that laboratories can be an integral part of an organization’s net zero emissions strategy. Benchmarking building performance data compared to similar type labs, then generating an energy and emissions scorecard is the first step. A standardized report of tailored actions to reduce energy and emissions for a specific lab building, along with their associated reduction estimates, return on investment, and relevant case studies will help spur action on reducing emissions. Certifying the results of a high-performing lab will verify that net zero emissions are achievable and recognize labs that can serve as a model for other facilities. Lastly, professional training and accreditation programs will provide assistance and capacity to more rapidly transform the industry.
To understand an existing lab’s energy performance, I2SL currently hosts the Laboratory Benchmark Tool (LBT). Developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and free to use, it stores data from approximately 1,000 lab buildings, the world’s largest lab building energy and emissions benchmarking database. Building off this successful tool, I2SL is creating several other key aspects of the Labs2Zero program:
- Energy and Emissions Scorecard for Labs: Using data entered into the LBT, this service will provide quantitative, normalized scores based on energy use intensity (EUI), as well as the greenhouse gas emissions associated with EUI. Each project will receive a scorecard that will enable comparison to other laboratory facilities in the LBT. In addition to operational carbon, the scorecard will include embodied carbon emissions and water use intensity, eventually.
- Actionable Insights and Measures (AIM) Report: This standardized report will recommend energy and carbon reduction measures to achieve energy savings and emissions reductions customized to your lab, plus estimated implementation costs and calculated return on investment, based on the information entered into the LBT and as a way to improve upon the numbers in the energy and emissions scorecard. It will also include case studies of proven technologies and techniques to reduce energy intensity and emissions.
- Design2Zero: For new lab construction and major retrofits, this service will allow building designers and engineers to select a desired energy and emissions score and receive the estimated EUI and greenhouse gas emission targets based on planned design characteristics. Design2Zero will provide suggestions on the best approaches to reduce energy and emissions to help achieve that desired score or rating, factoring in both estimated performance and costs.
- Lab Emissions Performance Certification: To publicly recognize and celebrate those facilities leading the way in energy and emissions reduction, I2SL will develop a certification scheme to verify the labs’ performance on the scorecards and validate baseline lab safety requirements. Users can pay to both have their labs certified through this program and receive technical assistance from an accredited professional who has demonstrated knowledge through this program.
- Training and Accreditation Program: Individuals will be trained to benchmark lab buildings, act on AIM report recommendations, use the Design2Zero tool, and/or earn accreditation to verify lab building results as part of the lab certification program.
Creating and completing this program will require involvement across the sustainable laboratory community. Read more about how to sponsor or volunteer expertise for Labs2Zero.