You’re Benched! New Lab Designs Save Energy By Moving Away From Bench Workspaces

A recent usage analysis shows that more research is being done in specialized workspaces than at the traditional laboratory bench, giving lab designers an opportunity to use “plug-and-play” modular casework to take advantage of natural light and air circulation, and save energy.

Kevin Sullivan, FAIA, of U.S. design firm Payette, reviewed this trend in his discussion of the design of the new Biosciences Research Building at the National University of Galway (Ireland) in this article for Lab Design News: The designers questioned every assumption about laboratory design – everything from where tissues could be cultured to where graduate students could drink coffee. The final design had at its center a collaborative “hub” furnished with movable modular table systems with no fixed connections to infrastructure. These systems could “plug in” to electrical and HVAC infrastructure as needed, and unplug for mobility.

The result of going green with modular millwork and innovative space utilization? Energy savings of approximately 70% annually. Not too shabby!


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