Top Trends In Lab Design
June 01, 2007

By Staff
Appeared in Business Facilities

1. Open Labs

Today, larger and more open labs are being constructed, where a number of researchers can work together, fostering collaboration. Outfitting these open labs with more generic mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems can also provide owners with increased flexibility. An open lab gives owners the opportunity to change the space’s function down the road and makes a serious dent in their bottom line.

2. Overhead Service Carriers

Replacing yesterday’s carriers that rose from the floor and routed up into work benches, today’s overhead racks provide flexibility by allowing the utilities to be added or relocated with much less effort than before.

3. Recycled Materials

Innovation in recycled products including wall sidings, flooring, and furniture can make any lab more environmentally conscious (sustainable).

4. Building and Energy Management Systems

The newest building and energy management systems, HVAC, and lighting controls continually monitor energy usage and consumption while also delivering comprehensive reports that enable facility managers to maintain a tight hold on system capabilities and performance.

5. Lighting

Task lighting and daylighting used together can effectively illuminate your lab space, while saving energy (sustainability) and money. Position of the building, size and location of windows, and exterior shading all play a key role in building green and maintaining a positive workplace atmosphere.

6. Computers

Research computers need larger UPS and emergency power systems for support than ever before. A good designer will look beyond the lab’s current capacity requirements to account for flexibility and future equipment expansion.

7. Waste Systems

Given the dangers presented by hazardous waste, laboratory designers are moving away from traditional lab waste systems and implementing two sustainable, money saving techniques: 1) neutralization stations, which allow the user to test and treat lab waste before it is disposed of, and 2) chemical waste rooms where large amounts of waste chemicals are stored and then hauled away, or treated on site before being dumped back into the sanitary system.

8. Security

In this vulnerable, post-9/11 world, laboratories are employing flexible security tactics to segregate the variety of research taking place inside their buildings. Palm readers, magnetic-stripped badges and code locks are just some of the systems present at the laboratory’s entrance and throughout the building.