U.S. EPA and U.S. DOE Develop "Labs21: Labs for the 21st Century" Program

Aug. 29, 2005
Improve U.S. laboratories' energy efficiency and environmental performance by examining facilities from a "whole building" perspective

The Labs21 program, established by the U.S. EPA and DOE, improves the energy efficiency and environmental performance of U.S. laboratories by examining facilities from a "whole building" perspective.

Laboratory facilities represent an ever-expanding growth opportunity for advanced, environmentally preferred building technologies. The typical laboratory uses far more energy and water per square foot than the typical office building due to intensive ventilation requirements and other health and safety concerns. Because the requirements of laboratory facilities differ so dramatically from those of other buildings, a clear need exists for an initiative exclusively targeting these facilities.

With this in mind, the the Labs21 program consists of three components:

  • Partnership Program (a group of corporations, universities, and government agencies that participate in Lab21 and encourage the development of sustainable, high-performance, and low-energy laboratories nationwide).
  • Training and Education (a range of opportunities throughout the year on sustainable laboratory design and operation, including courses, competitions, and networking forums).
  • Tool Kit (resources to support the design, construction, and operation of high-performance laboratories, including a performance rating system, case studies, design guides, etc.).

The primary guiding principle of the Labs21 program is that improving the energy efficiency and environmental performance of a laboratory requires examining the entire facility from a "whole building" perspective. Adopting this perspective allows laboratory owners to improve the efficiency of the entire facility, rather than focusing on specific laboratory components. As Labs21 participants understand, improving the efficiency of individual components without examining their relation to the entire system can eliminate opportunities to make other more significant efficiency improvements.

If you have any questions about the Labs21 program, including how to become involved, contact ([email protected]) or visit (www.labs21century.gov/index.htm). The Labs21 website includes a toolkit of resources such as design guides, case studies, and videos.

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