P2S Magazine Issue 1 - Page 6

airflow. These are devices that meter and regulate the flow of air. You insert the unit into a duct and then you can very accurately and quickly change the air within its rated operating range. Grilles and diffusers are another part of our design palette. For labs, its important to make informed selections on these products and their locations because the type of diffusers necessary in a lab will be very different than those in office spaces. In office spaces, diffuser mix the air. That’s undesirable for labs because if you have a spill you don’t want to recirculate that plume of evaporated contaminants within the breathing zone. It is ideal to sweep the air through the room in a controlled direction from cleaner spaces to dirtier spaces. The other side of ventilation design, which I believe P2S is a world innovator in, is what happens outside the building. The exhaust goes through a fan, goes through a stack and eventually goes up into the sky. The outside air also comes from the sky, so the atmosphere around us acts as our common air reservoir, taking air in and blowing air out. You want to make sure that you take air in from a location that’s not going to be pulling in contaminated air or minimizes how much is pulled back in from the exhaust. We’re world leaders in this area, I really You want to make sure that you take air in from a location that’s not going to be pulling in contaminated air or minimizes how much is pulled back in from the exhaust. mean that. We validate a lot of our designs through wind tunnel testing. We work with specialists to create scale models of lab buildings we’re working on. These models are functional; there’s a port where we put in the test gas and we can see how it flows. We excel at modeling and designing for what happens outside of the building. Building codes aren’t well suited for specialty design applications like laboratories, which have unique hazards and design considerations. Each lab is bespoke and even if the program is the same, the shape of the building, the topography, the local 6 wind conditions could be unique and require special consideration on how to disperse the exhaust. We’re experienced in how to design our exhaust systems to achieve better air quality performance and minimize energy use. We use passive enhancement design strategies that allow us to throw the air further away, using less energy. One of our innovations, which we developed during design competitions, was to cluster the stacks together. There’s research that suggests that if you take exhaust stacks at similar velocity and terminate them within a critical radius of each other, then the plumes from each of the stacks will merge into a mega-plume with the momentum of each exhaust stack combined to disperse air further into the atmosphere. If you can collect all the stacks together, they’ll throw further together than they would apart. By doing that, we can get better performance, at lower cost and without using more energy intensive strategies. What are some of the applicable codes and standards that you must consider in Lab design? Most labs are held accountable to the local city or state codes. Most codes don’t heavily regulate labs because there’s not a lot of prescriptive requirements for scientific processes. Standards are more influential on how to design things. There’s a U.S. standard called ANSI Z9.5 which is the lab ventilation standard. Z9.5 establishes design criteria and guidance for common design applications. There are also standards for the containment devices that we’re involved with. ASHRAE Standard 110 deals with how to test fume hood containment performance. How is designing for a research laboratory in a University different from designing for a clinical lab located in a hospital? Their programs would be different. The clinical lab could have people from the outside involved, people who may not be employees. Clinical labs would likely have the same processes repeated as part of a production system, while medical research labs would be more varied to suit the needs for flexible spaces to accommodate changes in research over time. Since the programs are different, the equipment used would be different and utilities would change appropriately. Clinical labs may also have special processes that require compliance with cGMP (current good manufacturing practice) regulations. These apply to parts of the lab that produce medicines that people ingest. If a lab is used to manufacture the medicine for trials, there would be a cGMP facility, which may be similar to an ISO 6 or 7 cleanroom. Medical research labs