What's New

COVID-19 Information and Education

  • For the past several months, labs across the country have been closed due to COVID. As labs begin to consider reopening and retooling, I2SL is hosting its second free town hall, COVID-19 Challenges and Successes for Designing and Operating Safe and Sustainable Labs, on July 8, from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern. A panel of lab experts from academia, pharma, and biotech will address the top questions facing lab owners, operators, engineers, and designers, including social distancing in labs, lab design requirements, and air quality and sustainability. If you missed the first town hall, Returning to the Operational Lab Environment During COVID-19, you can view the webinar recording.
  • Are you thinking about including COVID testing in your reopening plans? An article from the Boston Globe details how many pharmaceutical companies in Massachusetts have implemented testing as employees are allowed back into labs. Check out how lab owners and operators are adapting to new working standards.
  • With building closures due to stay-at-home orders, water in building plumbing can become stagnant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidance to help facilities restore water quality and ensure safe drinking water for occupants.
  • If you are looking for more resources about how to maintain labs and businesses during the pademic, CBRE has COVID-19 resources section. There are articles and podcasts that delve into how the virus is affecting the way we work, live, and invest.
  • How have strategies from the 9/11 biodefense response prepared the United States for pandemics like COVID-19? Healthcare Facilities Today examines this question and discusses improvements that would help handle this and future pandemics. For more information about testing and re-opening in healthcare facilities, read this briefing from the Massachusetts High Technology Council.
  • When buildings such as laboratories sit idle, it could have a variety of safety and sustainability effects such as water contamination, according to this article. You can also read about how climate-informed HVAC increases in relative humidity may help fight pandemic viruses in this article from Smith Group.
  • Businesses and hospitals are facing major transitions as they adapt to the challenges caused by coronavirus. To help with the adjustments, Grumman/Butkus Associates has shared engineering tips and strategies for employees at both healthcare and non-healthcare facilities. Grumman/Butkus also alerted I2SL that the ASHRAE/ASHE Technical Committee for Healthcare has updated guidance regarding Covid-19; view it here.
  • Sustainable labs are already making a difference in the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus. Scientists at Colorado State University’s Research Innovation Center are hoping to become among the first to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Read more about the lab's work to protect our health and safety.

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  • SAVE THE DATE: The 2020 I2SL Annual Conference will be October 4–7, 2020, in Chicago. I2SL will be actively monitoring the public health concerns around COVID-19 in the coming months as we continue with plans for the conference.
  • Exhibitor registration is filling up! Reserve your spot today!
  • Congratulations to Star Scott, the winner of the 2019 Around the World challenge and recipient of a free 2020 conference registration!
  • I2SL has temporarily made 2019 conference presentations available to all for distance learning. I2SL Members can also access presentations from all other past conferences in the Annual Conference Presentation Archive.


  • Congratulations to the 2019 Go Beyond Award winners! See also the Sustainable Purchasing Award winners.
  • Registration for the 2020 International Freezer Challenge is now open! The coolest way to make summer more sustainable is more efficient cold storage. Make sure to submit your application by the August 1, 2020 deadline!
  • Check out this piece on the International Freezer Challenge and 2019's winners in Nature magazine!

I2SL Chapters

  • Looking to join an I2SL chapter? Find an I2SL chapter near you!
  • Check out our newest addition, the St. Louis Chapter!
  • The North Carolina-Triangle Chapter hosted a chapter meeting where several speakers gave presentations and recapped the 2019 I2SL Conference. The meeting was very successful and received great feedback from attendees!
    • “The speakers were very knowledgeable in their fields and the information presented is extremely relevant for anyone working in the design and operation of research labs.”—Sue Nativi, Duke University Facilities Engineer
  • The National Capital Chapter held an event at sponsor Affiliated Engineers in Rockville, Maryland, to discuss an energy-saving hot/cold water tank project at the National Institutes of Health.
  • The Emerald City Chapter in Seattle held a successful educational event on how to drive sustainability into the core of higher education, and I2SL Executive Director Phil Wirdzek addressed the audience (below).
  • I2SL Emerald City Chapter Event Photo

    Working Groups

    • I2SL is working with Eversource to establish a national Electric Utility Support to Labs Working Group to help develop energy-efficient solutions and ensure real-time utility management strategies within lab management and users. For more information or to get involved, contact Steven Miller.
    • The DOZN™2.0 is a is designed to provide a framework for learning about green chemistry when creating new materials and processes. I2SL’s newest working group, DOZN Tool for Green Chemistry, aims to discover how the DOZN Tool may be used to create green chemistry laboratory spaces. Lab planners, designers, and engineers are encouraged to participate.
    • Ventilation effectiveness—combined with energy efficiency—can make laboratories both safe and sustainable. I2SL has started a new working group, chaired by Kishor Kahn of AnSight LLC, to raise awareness about ventilation effectiveness for laboratories (VEL) among architects, engineers, facility managers, owners, and others who are involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of laboratories.
    • Calling all lab operations personnel, A&E design pros, and product representatives. The Sustainable Laboratory User Manual Working Group held its first meeting in early June to introduce the executive committee and begin planning for the upcoming months.
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    • The Laboratory Benchmarking Tool (LBT) is now even better! Sponsored by Siemens Smart Infrastructure, the new Actionable Insights Module bridges the gap between your building data and action by providing customized energy efficiency project ideas and resources. And thanks to the new ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Connection, you can now import your Portfolio Manager data directly into the tool, so you don't have to enter it twice. Check out this video for more information!
    • Learn about the Bringing Efficiency to Research (BETR) Grants program, which is an ongoing focus of the I2SL University Alliance Group (UAG).
    • The Continuous Improvement Working Group is developing tools and a process for continuous improvement in laboratory facilities.


    • Want to participate in more events related to the sustainable lab community? Check out the Industry Events page to learn about notable events happening this year.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator program has created the new Smart Labs Toolkit. The free toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to help organizations achieve more sustainable, efficient, and safe laboratories. Resources are available through the Toolkit to help lab owners and users plan, assess, optimize, and manage a Smart Lab.
    • In their latest blog post, Labconscious interviewed I2SL member and Utility Working Group chair, Steve Miller. Read the interview and learn how to empower scientists to move toward sustainability in their labs.
    • In partnership with the Better Buildings Smart Lab Accelerator, I2SL is offering a webinar series to encourage people to continue improving safety and efficiency in laboratories. View the webinar recording for the second webinar in the series and learn from Megan Gunther about systemsevaporative cooling for lab design/balancing the use of energy and water.
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    • As a result of this global pandemic, we may see a shift in how designers and engineers create research spaces. B+H Advance Strategy shared an article with I2SL about how to design the next generation of high-tech, cutting-edge laboratories. Read more in Team Science: Designing for Research in the Information Age.
    • Operations and maintenance (O&M) training courses are available now at a discount to I2SL Members.
    • I2SL members from organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University are helping to make the places that save lives save resources too! Check out this article from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
    • Check out this article from fivethirtyeight.com, featuring I2SL members, about the dilemmas faced by today's scientists and lab specialists when trying to help the planet while using resources in the process.
    • According to the latest addition to our E-Library, laboratory design has been shifting towards sustainability and spatial flexibility. Read the full article to find out more!
    • Harvard University got several of its laboratories to go green by giving green. Read the case study about how financial incentives helped reduce lab energy intensity.
    • Core facilities are the latest trend in consolidating campus research facilities and equipment to save resources and maximize researchers' abilities. Read more about how they work at Northwestern University or watch a video about core facilities.
    • The University of Virginia recently completed a Pilot Lab Program to study the true potential of holistic Green Labs programming that addresses both building and user aspects of research efficiency.

    Job Opportunities

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is presently looking to hire 3-4 engineers: 1-2 mechanical engineers, 1 controls engineer, and 1 energy/sustainability engineer. US citizenship is a requirement. An ABET-accredited degree or its equivalent is required. Please go to the following web location to see the advertisement: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/568205300. The advertisement to hire closes 7/13/2020.
    • Interested in a career in architecture? Check out these job listings on the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture website.
    • Tell us if you have a job opportunity that you would like us to share.