6 SEPTEMBER 2016 b ALNmag.com
DESIGN | Elizabeth Doughman
A2015 ALN survey indicated that a third of facilities planning major vivarium changes intend to seek
some sort of sustainability or green certification. Achieving sustainability in the
animal facility provides some unique challenges as they tend to use a lot of energy,
resources, and consumables, as well as
produce a lot of waste. However, it can
be worth it. Not only does green design
help the environment, it is also sometimes
required in order to receive funding.
At the 2016 TurnKey Conference,
held May 24-25 at the Gaylord National
Harbor Resort and Convention Center
in Washington, D.C., a panel of experts
discussed why going green is import-
ant, as well as simple ways to invest
in sustainable design and operations in
the animal facility. Panelists included
Josh Meyer, the managing principal and
Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. (JCI), George
Kemper, a Laboratory Planner at BHDP,
and Wayne DeSantis, a Past President
of the Allied Trade Association (ATA). It
was moderated by Bea Riemschneider,
the Editorial Director of ALN Magazine,
What follows is an edited transcript of
the panelists discussion:
Why is it important to think about sus-
tainability in the vivarium?
JM: First of all, traditional vivariums are
energy hogs in every conceivable way,
from air changes to water and steam
usage. I can’t think of any category where
they wouldn’t really be up there. And
now there are alternatives.
One of the first we employed was
with IVCs at a top NIH medical school.
We fed the racks from the building system and also the room from the building
system. When the room was unoccupied, we ran the room at six air changes
per hour and the system for the racks
at constant volume. When the rooms
were occupied, they let it go via VAV to
control temperature swings. That was a
120,000 gross square foot vivarium with
the capacity for 76,000 cages of mice.
By going that direction, they saved an
incredible amount of energy. This led
me think there were other ways to save
energy in the vivarium.
WD: One of the reasons to go green is
to save green—saving money. The technology has come a long way, but a lot of
people have trouble justifying going green
and spending the money. The hard part is
for people to really trust their math—they
have to know that what they invest is
going to save them money in the long run.
GK: The big thing is that you have to
start with your SOPs. There could be green
products that you could utilize, but you
should also think about the process, the
architecture, the maintenance, etc. The
pieces need to all come together holistically.
You need a holistic approach to sustainability. If you don’t think holistically, people think ‘it will cost me more to go green’
and then they don’t manage the systems.
Air systems go out of compliance, etc,
which will eventually catch up to you.
How do you convince an organization
renovating an older facility that the
animal facility is worth a green upgrade?
WD: It’s not just the buildings infrastructure, going green should also include new
Now, in addition to energy savings and
capital cost, we also have to think about
any regulations that have changed since
the building was first built. Simply replacing one piece of equipment can turn lead
to other systems needing to be replaced or
updated and then a $100,000 project turns
into a $700,000 project.
From that perspective, when you’re
thinking about being up to code or being as
green as possible, talk to an architect who
can help you think about the whole picture.
Going green isn’t just thinking about one
new piece of equipment or product, you
have to talk to people who’ve done this for