Labs21 Taps Industry Expertise to Develop Best Practice Guides

July 28, 2004

Building on current tools and resources meant to help laboratory stakeholders incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable features into retrofits and new construction, the Laboratories for the 21st Century (Labs21) program released its first three Best Practice Guides in October 2003. The three guides, Daylighting in Laboratories, Energy Recovery in Laboratories, and On-site Power Systems for Laboratories, each provide information about technologies and practices that can be used to design, construct, and operate safe, sustainable, high-performance laboratories.

Figure 1. Labs21 Best Practice Guides planned or under development

The typical laboratory is about five times as energy intensive as a standard office building and costs at least three to ten times as much per unit area to construct—which means that every element of its design and construction can impact the building's overall efficiency and performance. With this in mind, Labs21 worked closely with industry volunteers to ensure the Best Practice Guides would provide innovative, useful information that addressed specific challenges facing today's laboratory professionals.

Each guide highlights topic-specific technical descriptions, design considerations, codes and standards, and case study examples. With the help of its industry volunteers, Labs21 will continue to develop additional Best Practice Guides on a variety of technologies and strategies for the next few years. Labs21 has identified and prioritized these additional topics for which it is developing, or plans to develop, Best Practice Guides (see Figure 1).

To ensure the quality and relevance of these guides, Labs21 is actively seeking additional volunteer participation from members of the laboratory design community as lead developers, contributors, or reviewers of new guides. To find out how to participate in the development of new guides, or to download existing guides, visit

For more information on the Labs21 program, contact Will Lintner, FEMP Labs21 Program Manager, at 202-586-3120.