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A wide spectrum of laboratory owners, ranging from universities to federal agencies, have explicit goals for energy efficiency in their facilities. For example, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) requires all new federal buildings to exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2004 by at least 30%. A new laboratory is much more likely to meet energy efficiency goals if quantitative metrics and targets are specified in programming documents and tracked during the course of the delivery process. If not, any additional capital costs or design time associated with attaining higher efficiencies can be difficult to justify.
This article describes key energy efficiency metrics and benchmarks for laboratories, which have been developed and applied to several laboratory buildings — both for design and operation. In addition to traditional whole building energy use metrics (e.g. BTU/ft2.yr, kWh/m2.yr), the article describes HVAC system metrics (e.g. ventilation W/cfm, W/L.s-1), which can be used to identify the presence or absence of energy features and opportunities during design and operation.