e-News #29: Investigating the Energy Savings Potential in Laboratory Design

March 30, 2001
 
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Laboratory-type facilities represent an important segment of the building stock, especially when considered in terms of energy intensity and overall energy consumption. According to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL), there are more than 50 million square feet of laboratory-type space in California alone. Energy intensities are often five times higher than those found in other building types such as offices.

In 1993, California laboratory facilities were responsible for 8.8 billion kilowatthours of electricitym demand and 21 trillion BTUs of natural gas demand. In the absence of energy-efficiency improvements, LBNL estimates these figures will increase 131 percent by the year 2015. The corresponding energy cost in 1993 was $700 million annually, growing to $1640 million by the year 2015. The LBNL researchers estimate an overall savings potential of 50 percent in new and existing laboratory facilities.

The Laboratory Energy Challenges
The challenge for architects and building engineers is to design and construct the next generation of laboratories with energy efficiency and sustainable construction practices in mind-all the while maintaining and even advancing high standards of comfort, health, and safety.

To understand how to capture energy savings in new facilities through an integrated design approach, it's important to know the factors that contribute to laboratories' energy intensity.

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e-News is published by Energy Design Resources (www.energydesignresources.com), an online resource center for information on energy efficiency design practices in California.

Savings By Design (www.savingsbydesign.com) offers design assistance and incentives to design teams and building owners in California to encourage high-performance nonresidential building design and construction.

Energy Design Resources and Savings By Design are funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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