Ushering in the New Age of Laboratories: Smart Labs in Practice; Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Ventilation is the first line of defense against airborne hazards produced during research activities in laboratories. A vital component to maintaining healthy, safe, indoor air quality, laboratory ventilation systems are often victim to ineffective operation, posing a risk to an organization's most important asset - the researchers. Furthermore, system inefficiencies can lead to up to 50% wasted energy. By providing a framework to improve the safety and energy efficiency through optimized ventilation and operations, the Smart Labs Toolkit guides laboratory stakeholders through a straight-forward, holistic approach to achieving a dynamic Smart Labs program. A Smart Labs program employs a combination of physical, administrative, and management techniques to plan, assess, optimize, and manage high-performance laboratories. Grounded in the Smart Labs methodology, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) implemented a successful Smart Labs program to oversee the design, construction, maintenance, and operations of its laboratories. To accomplish this effort, NREL's key stakeholders created an internal partnership to align NREL's existing laboratories with Smart Labs principles and solidify organizational roles for the safe and efficient operation of laboratory assets. The program provides the groundwork for decarbonization strategies centered around building operation. This paper outlines best practices employed by NREL to develop a cross-cutting Smart Labs team, garner managerial support, and effectively communicate of goals around safety and energy. Strategies include specific Smart Labs best practices, such as implementing a Laboratory Ventilation Risk Assessment - a systematic process for identifying risk due to airborne hazards and informing dynamic, demand-based ventilation to optimize safety and efficiency.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 202226 Aug 2022


Conference2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5R00-82413


  • decarbonization
  • energy efficiency
  • smart labs
  • ventilation


Dive into the research topics of 'Ushering in the New Age of Laboratories: Smart Labs in Practice; Preprint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this