Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay
Science lab design requires careful consideration to facilitate discovery and enhance user’s safety, efficiency and comfort.

6 Things to Consider When Designing a Science Lab

Feb. 21, 2024
Laboratories need to facilitate discovery while protecting users’ safety, efficiency and comfort. Take these design considerations into account to create a successful lab space.

Designing a science lab is an exciting experience. However, the task can also be overwhelming, considering the detailed thought and preparation required to make it great and effective. A well-designed science lab must facilitate innovation, research and discovery. Besides, creating adequate space for lab operations enhances users’ safety, efficiency and comfort.

Here are the top six design elements that building owners and facility managers can consider to achieve safety and efficiency.

1. The Space

Building owners and facility managers must consider the space available when designing a science lab. A space evaluation will involve assessing the strengths and constraints of the layout to optimize the use of the space. For example, will there be a lot of large, heavy or sharp equipment? These considerations determine the placement of the equipment, including sinks, electrical outlets and storage, to ensure smooth workflow and accessibility for all users.

Space planning is also vital in creating an environment that supports scientific experimentation and research safety. For example, the space plan must consider clear traffic flows toward the emergency exits. Moreover, adequate space ensures lab users don’t accidentally hit and break equipment while passing. Consequently, adequately spacing the science lab will enhance lab operations’ effectiveness and suit it for various activities. Users will, therefore, not feel cluttered from being in a chaotic environment.

2. Adequate Ventilation

A ventilation system ensures the science lab can safely eliminate dangerous chemical fumes and particulates in the air. Adequate ventilation in the laboratory, using suitable systems, protects the room’s occupants from exposure to harmful substances. It also prevents the release of substances from the lab into the surrounding environment, thereby protecting people outside the lab.

Building owners and facility managers should ventilate the science lab by following the ventilation requirements and regulations set by the local authorities. However, the lab layout dictates the ventilation system that serves the lab users better.

3. Proper Lighting Installations

The lighting plan is one of the most important aspects of lab design because selecting the right type, amount and even building for light will significantly improve the quality and functionality of the lab. For example, proper lighting is necessary for scientists to perform accurate readings and prevent eye strain. Consequently, experts should distribute the lighting installation evenly in all the lab’s corners, nooks and crannies.

Moreover, consider selecting LED or other energy-efficient lighting options. These choices improve the lab’s functionality, reducing electricity consumption and minimizing its carbon footprint. It also contributes to a sustainable environment and cuts future light replacement costs.

4. Ample Storage

When designing a science lab, the building owner or facility manager should allocate plenty of storage space to the laboratory. The room should adequately accommodate equipment, chemicals and supplies. In addition, ample storage enhances the lab’s safety and accessibility, thus minimizing mess. Moreover, labeling every storage section according to the equipment or supplies to store makes it easy for lab users to identify reagents and equipment.

Other components, such as chemical storage sections, should be near ventilation and have proper handling measures. Designing adequate storage with appropriate safety measures in a science lab provides a better educational environment and a decent scientific exploration and innovation atmosphere.

5. Flexibility

A science lab should be versatile to accommodate different users and various daily activities. For example, using features such as modular furniture, moveable equipment and adaptable utilities, the science lab can be set up differently each day to accommodate multiple needs.

Modular furniture can be moved and arranged in many ways to accommodate different workspaces. Moveable equipment allows the rearrangement of lab stations; hence, experiments get done more efficiently. Moreover, adaptable utilities are needed to connect to the many different types of equipment used in science labs.

6. Aesthetics

An aesthetic environment provides a conducive and safe environment for research. Aesthetics in the laboratory create an inviting climate for work. For example, good finishes, like well-balanced color schemes and appealing equipment, will make the lab more attractive and comfortable.

In addition, it is vital to have natural light in the lab since it helps reduce eye strain and the health of the occupants. Moreover, the presence of artwork helps foster a positive and productive lab environment, contributing to the wellbeing of the occupants.

Conclusion

If you’re a building owner or a facility manager designing a scientific lab, consider all the factors above to ensure the lab’s success. As a safety precaution, ensure the lab is adequately ventilated and has all the needed emergency equipment. Lastly, the design should be suitable for scientific work, considering appropriate space for experiments, storage and collaboration.

About the Author

Katherine Robinson

Katherine Robinson is a writer for LOC Scientific, a leader in helping lab owners, directors, and facilities managers make confident decisions regarding their laboratory fume hoods and laboratory casework needs.

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