Safety Driven Energy Savings – The Harvard Laboratory Inhalation Risk Assessment (LIRA) Study

February 21, 2019
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Eastern Time


The Lab Inhalation Risk Assessment (LIRA) study is currently in development and is expected to be a key safety and efficiency component of Harvard University Lab Ventilation Management Plan. The challenge of the LIRA study is to use a new portable technology [Gasmet DX4040 FTIR Gas Analyzer] in the development of a process for quantifying potential inhalation exposures in the labs. The goal of the project is to use LIRA as a method for reducing general lab ventilation rates from six air changes per hour when occupied, down to four air changes when occupied and two air changes when occupied, in spaces where the Harvard ventilation guidelines are the driving factor of the air change rates.

As of August, 2018, 65% of the open lab space in the first biochemistry building was assessed with LIRA and approved to operate at the reduced general ventilation rate of four air changes per hour occupied and two air changes per hour unoccupied. The remaining 35% of the open lab space will likely be reprogrammed to allow for this lower ventilation rate in the near future once the initial LIRA process is complete. Energy savings have already resulted from the program. The initial analysis indicates that once the remaining lab spaces in the building are reprogrammed to allow for the lower ventilation rate, we can expect there will be at least a 20% reduction in total electricity consumed and at least an 8-10% reduction in the total energy bill.

This is a presentation on the development and implementation of the LIRA study. It will present ideas from the perspective of lab safety, industrial hygiene, and sustainability, as well as present an energy study from the perspective of an energy engineer.

After viewing this presentation, attendees will:

  1. Understand the LIRA study goals of developing a new risk assessment method for quantifying exposure risk and saving energy;
  2. Understand how the LIRA team uses the portable Gasmet DX4040 gas analyzer as the tool for risk quantification;
  3. Understand the LIRA field assessment process; and
  4. Understand how the LIRA team is measuring energy savings from air change rate reduction, reducing air changes from six air changes per hour down to four air changes per hour occupied and two air changes per hour unoccupied.


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Professional Development Hours and Continuing Education Credits

Webinar attendees and those who view the recording can earn one Professional Development Hour (PDH) for professional engineers or one Learning Unit (LU) from the American Institute of Architects for registered architects.

Contact I2SL after the webinar if you would like to receive a credit for your participation.

Instructor Biographies

Quentin Gilly is the Senior Coordinator with the Harvard University Office for Sustainability, representing the Harvard Green Labs Program. Before joining the Office for Sustainability in 2014, Quentin was a lab manager at the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics. Quentin is a Certified Energy Manager, and holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University, and a master's degree from Harvard in Environmental Management.

Chris Bitzas is a Senior Energy Engineer with Siemens with 16 years of experience in building energy and automation. He is contracted, as a full time energy engineer, to the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Prior to his role with Harvard, Chris was a project developer in Siemens' performance contracting group. Chris holds CEM and LEED AP designations, a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a master's in Energy Systems from Northeastern University.


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