from each level are often required to interface at each step
as the program evolves. This, then, involves a simultaneous
decision process where key issues, such as the water example
mentioned earlier, are considered from all sides at the same
time (that is, simultaneously) before the team commits to a
preferred process. In this manner, each of the various team
members can provide input for the design, engineering, cost
and schedule, especially as it pertains to the overall sustainability of the proposed project.
This process often requires that some design tasks need to
be prepared early on. Energy modeling, for example, is often
performed in the design development stage of a sequential
design process. This may be too late for the simultaneous
process. With the simultaneous process, this step must occur
much earlier to inform the other team members about the
overall design requirements, and their effects on cost, overall
sustainability and project scheduling.
A number of inherently sustainable design considerations
also need to be broached early on in the simultaneous design
process so that all design team members can provide their
input as to the possible interactions with the other building
concepts. These sustainable considerations include things
such as site selection and final orientation, glazing/fenestra-tion, external solar controls, possible double-wall facades,
overall renewable energy options, external natural landscaping considerations, reusable construction materials, building/
lab water use/recycling, material and people flow throughout
the building, and, of course, the cost implications of all of
these considerations and options. As a matter of fact, the sustainable options being considered may often be the primary
design drivers for many of the discussion points in the very
early stages of an integrated simultaneous design process.
In our reader survey, one of the queries was targeted on
learning about the current status of the respondent’s organization’s completion of their company’s sustainability goals,
which is summarized in Chart 4. The most selected option
was their organization’s goal to increase overall safety within
the research lab (59% completion toward meeting their
sustainability goal). This choice, while marginally focused
on the overall sustainability of the lab, is always the most
selected option in any of numerous surveys that the editors
of R&D Magazine/Laboratory Design perform. Without
having the safest laboratory environment possible, all other
considerations are moot.
The second most selected goal in this section was the goal
to reduce waste, where the survey respondents indicated that
their organizations were 46% of the way to meeting their
goal for reducing waste. This is not surprising due to the
overall increasing focus on recycling, materials reuse and the
research lab’s use of specific sustainable materials and selection processes. Glassware washers are more in vogue now
compared with the use of disposable plastic ware systems.
Materials are now selected that generate smaller levels of waste.
New analytical instruments can also use smaller sample
sizes and need smaller amounts of solvents and other ana-
lytical agents. This, of course, also offers the user the option
of performing a larger number of analyses (at similar overall
sample volumes) and thus possibly preempting some sus-
tainable cost and process time reductions, but increasing the
overall reliability of the experimental results. All of these are
considerations that can be discussed among the research lab
design members at the initial design meetings, with the final
design considerations agreed upon or compromised upon.
The third most selected survey choices as to where the survey respondents’ organizations are with regard to completing
their sustainability goals was in the area of staff retention
and staff productivity. A sustainable, efficiently operating
research laboratory environment is a strong incentive for
ensuring staff satisfaction (and thus retention), while encouraging continuing productivity improvements.
The other results in this survey question were all within the 40% to 44% range of meeting their organizations’
sustainability goals (energy use, operating costs, reduction in
time-to-market, materials use, time per operation and reduction of water use in the lab).
There are several incentives that design teams focus on when
considering the sustainability option in the design and construction or renovation of a new research lab. The first two
choices by our survey respondents are related—the reduction
of energy within the lab and the reduction of operating costs.
By reducing energy use, the researchers reduce their operating costs (Chart 2). Fewer or more efficient fume hoods
directly relates to lower energy bills and lower operating
costs. More renewable energy systems directly relates to
smaller amounts of various types of energy that need to be
purchased, although the initial capital costs may need an
acceptable return on investment (ROI) that doesn’t exist for
Design/contruction cost savings
Minimize environmental e;ects
Operating cost savings
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Chart 3 - What Are The Incentives For A Sustainable