High Performance Labs

  • Javier Navar Payan, MSME, PE, CEM – University of Minnesota
  • Raphael Vitti, PE, BEAP – kW Engineering
  • Chris Weyandt, PE, CEM – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus is about 24 million gross SF with laboratory space accounting for about 27% of assignable SF (3.5 million SF). Still, research lab spaces are responsible for about 56% of the energy expenses of the campus. By implementing different building control strategies and new equipment the University has been able to reduce lab energy consumption, especially in new buildings and renovations. This presentation is a case study on the Microbiology Research Facility. This building is a four-story, 89,000 SF, $63 million research facility and is part of the Biomedical Facilities Program. The facility houses offices, laboratories, and work areas for faculty, staff, and graduate students. The building is approximately 75% lab space and 25% office space. This presentation covers the case study in addition to changes during and after construction, lessons learned, current building analytics, and design considerations for future buildings.

Modern building automation systems can help achieve highly optimized equipment operation, by using complex feedback algorithms to regularly update operating setpoints. However, these feedback algorithms require continued attention and maintenance in order to remain effective, which is rarely addressed in post-occupancy operation. Sustainable Berkeley Labs’ Ongoing Commissioning (OCx) team, comprised of an energy consultant paired with Berkeley Lab facility engineers, energy managers, and technicians, started in 2017 and has been addressing the need for continuous system-level optimization of energy-consuming assets. This discussion outlines the team’s success in incremental re-commissioning of a three-year-old general purpose research laboratory building at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.