Benchmarking Laboratory Operational Practices: Insights from the Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future, Net Zero Labs Working Group

January 16, 2020
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Eastern Time


The Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future was founded in 2013 by the City of Cambridge, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts institute of Technology, with the goal of creating a local network of property owners to make meaningful contributions to the challenges that global climate change presents. Today the organization has nearly twenty members, with each member pledging to work with its peers and leverage their combined capacities to create a healthier and more sustainable city. Several working groups have formed within the Compact, including the Net Zero Labs Working Group, with the goal of bringing together lab property owners in the city to share best practices about efficient laboratory design and operation. Cambridge, Massachusetts is a major center for laboratories in the United States, and over half the energy consumed in city is by the labs. It became clear early on that benchmarking our labs would be a great way to initiate best practice sharing.

With the help of Alison Farmer of kW Engineering, the Cambridge Compact conducted the initial round of lab benchmarking in 2016 utilizing 2015 energy data. In 2019 the group received funding to benchmark two additional years of energy data, and incorporate lessons learned from the first round of benchmarking with the goal of making the exercise even more actionable.

The focus of the presentation is on the lessons learned from the 2015 Cambridge lab benchmarking exercise, and a walkthrough of the enhanced 2019 lab benchmarking questionnaire.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the goals and initiatives of the Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future, and the Net Zero Lab Working Group.
  • Present the experience of engaging with other property owners and local government officials on the topic of sustainable laboratories.
  • Describe why the Net Zero Labs Working Group added new operational parameters in round two of the Cambridge Lab Benchmarking exercise.
  • Review the operational parameters of the enhanced 2019 lab benchmarking questionnaire in detail.


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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 Biography

Quentin Gilly is Manager of Laboratory Sustainability & Energy with the Harvard University Office for Sustainability, in conjunction with the Faculty of Arts & Sciences Office of Physical Resources & Planning. His primary role is to implement energy conservation measures for Harvard's laboratories, and work with various departments and units to improve facility operations. Quentin holds a master's degree in environmental management from Harvard University, and is a Certified Energy Manager through the Association of Energy Engineers. Quentin serves as chair of Cambridge Compact Net-Zero Labs Working Group and Vice President of the I2SL New England Chapter.


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