might have more wet chemistry, imaging equipment,
and potentially dirtier processes.
Is it important for designers to know which
chemicals and processes will be used in a lab?
Safety is a conversation between the owners,
environmental health and safety (EH&S)
professionals and lab planners. Owners employ
or contract EH&S professionals who will run the
safety program for the lab. Since EH&S authorities
are responsible for maintaining safe operations
within the facility, they’re the ones who decide
how ventilation is used for risk mitigation. These
professionals are educated and experienced in
chemistry and industrial hygiene and know which
protective equipment, procedures and containment
strategies are necessary within the labs they
oversee. Our role as the consulting engineer is to
develop designs for the necessary utilities that
allow the equipment they’ve specified to function,
including room ventilation rates to promote
occupant safety. We deliver designs for utilities and
facility systems that fit their specifications.
re-heat in current HVAC designs by using a different
way of conditioning the air that is substantially
more efficient. We’ve achieved performance of
50%+ better than Title 24 minimum standards using
this design because the thermodynamic process is
inherently less wasteful than traditional VAV systems.
It works especially well for labs because it’s flexible
to changes in load and temperature requirements.
We’re able to heat and cool the air with the 4-pipe
VAV system at the zone level. If loads change, it’s
very responsive and accommodating.
It’s also affordable, we were able to fit this design
within our team’s design-build budget for the Ernest
E. Tschannen Science Complex at Sacramento State,
so it fits within a CSU budget. When that project is
operational later this year, it will be a benchmark for
the CSU system.
You’re an active ASHRAE member and have helped
to write some of the same standards we’ve talked
about. Why was it important for you to be involved?
Engineers participate in ASHRAE because we
want to improve the industry, so that our industry
and society of engineers, operators, occupants,
and owners benefit. This effort is altruistic and
represents our interest in contributing knowledge to
benefit society. We also want to stay ahead of the
industry we’re involved with and exercise our ability
to influence the future. You have some amount
of control and influence by contributing your
knowledge and leading peers in producing updates
and new content that eventually becomes published
literature. It also helps with credibility and name
recognition. If an owner or lab planner opens a book
and sees your name in the list of authors, that will
give them some reassurance. It’s a small industry
and ASHRAE also lets members network with a broad
network of peers. Members can get a feel of trends
taking off in different markets.
What sets the P2S Lab design team apart from
other MEP firms?
Besides our innovations in outside air and exhaust
stack clusters, we’re also leaders in 4-pipe
VAV systems, which are pretty cutting edge in
application. Not many large-scale labs have used
that technology, but it has the potential to really
improve energy efficiency. It eliminates wasteful