Laser & Critical Environment Labs

  • Kurt Matsen, PE, CEM – Grumman/Butkus Associates
  • Kevin VanderKlay, PE, LEED AP, QCxP – Grumman/Butkus Associates

This presentation shares lessons learned from commissioning more than 30 laser laboratories and other critical laboratory environments that demand extremely tight and stable environmental conditions for temperature, humidity, and space pressurization. The speakers describe laboratory Cx projects from design through occupancy for laser labs, electron microscope labs, cleanrooms and other extremely sensitive labs, including their space criteria and required support utilities. Project examples include labs at two leading higher education institutions, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. These spaces typically are designed to maintain a maximum of 0.25-degree F temperature gradient across the optical table, and lab space conditions of 72-degree F with +/- 0.25-degree F and relative humidity of 35% with +/- 1%RH. Some laboratories are even more stringent than this, and lab researchers also have specific criteria on how fast or slow the rate of change in temperature or humidity can or should be. All of these spaces also add pressurization to the requirements to have the labs positively pressurized (the opposite for common wet labs with fume hoods.) The speakers also discuss critical utility infrastructure needed to support critical laboratories such as emergency power and the use of generators, UPS, flywheels, systems like process chilled water, and compressed air.