Want a flexible lab design?

April 21, 2023 | Lab Furniture

Currently, lab spaces are expensive and it’s not an unusual challenge especially for start-up companies. The University of Enterprise Laboratories (UEL) provided the following tips on how you can stretch your budget to get that coveted flexible lab design.

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Balancing flexibility and commonality 

Discovering what features are associated with a lab project’s success and making informed decisions is vital.

Some of the must-haves include:

  • Chemical fume hood

  • Hot and cold running water

  • Deionized water

  • Compressed air systems 

 It is also important to know who the lease holders or experts would be in the lab most of the time. This allows for growth, flexibility, addition of specialty areas, and altering spaces as R&D needs arise or change.

Lab and office planning is needed in the reduction of environmental cost regardless if reconfiguration happens or not. The design team should be able to assemble a materials palette (including flooring materials as well as a series of paint and plastic laminate colors) that could be standardized throughout the building. This is to ensure that there will be less need for ripping out and retrofitting lab equipment, furniture, fixtures, or utilities.

UEL scientists also identified the most common and important overarching design issues. For labs to be aesthetically desirable and functional, factors like access to natural daylight, shared meeting space, vending amenities should be considered. Other pre-design discussions focus on the proximity of office space to the laboratories, since lab activities are often concurrent with office activities. Workstations are to be opted out as experts spend less time doing traditional bench-related research and more on doing computer-related work. 

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Energy Considerations

 The necessity for complete air separation between labs cannot be emphasized enough, especially on how labs normally have large energy consumption due to significant exhaust requirements. Mechanical and electrical systems should also be designed for maximum efficiency. For instance, installing mechanical systems that employ variable speed drives allows for a 60% reduction in required air supply and exhaust. Increasing chiller efficiency during partial load operations should be taken into account, too.

 Keeping this in mind, you will be able to design a flexible lab that is within your resources.

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