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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Introduction to Science Lab Building Systems See upcoming dates

Course Overview

Opportunities for employment in science and engineering labs are growing due to an increased focus on STEM education nationwide. However, laboratories use a higher proportion of energy than typical office buildings, and their mechanical systems and infrastructure are more costly and complex. Learn how to identify maintenance and energy conservation measures, address and improve researcher and occupant safety, validate design assumptions and criteria, and incorporate the latest trends in your lab projects.

Who Should Attend?

  • University and government facility operators
  • Research lab technicians and investigators
  • Project managers and administrators
  • Environmental health & safety professionals
  • Architects and mechanical design engineers
  • Consultants and project team members
  • Construction managers and sub-contractors

Course Outline

Day 1

Welcome and Introduction                                                        

Tab 1 – Planning and Architectural Considerations             

  • Codes and standards
  • Needs analysis
    • Data sheets & equipment lists
  • Program elements
    • Lab & lab support spaces
  • Lab bench design
  • Biology labs
    • autoclaves, environmental rooms, microscopes
  • Chemistry labs
    • fume hoods, chemical storage, specifications
  • Physics labs
    • optics tables, overhead service carriers, cryogens

 Tab 2 – Environmental Health and Safety                              

  • Background and brief history
  • Laboratory hazards and stresses
  • Regulatory framework
  • Common types of laboratories
  • Waste management
  • Controlling laboratory hazards
  • Emergency systems and equipment
  • Emerging Issues

 Tab 3 – Laboratory Ventilation                                    

  • Laboratory ventilation basics
  • Focus on local exhaust devices
    • Chemical fume hoods
    • Biological safety cabinets
    • Glove boxes
    • Research animal equipment
    • Snorkels and storage cabinets
  • Testing and modelling
  • Some energy conservation issues

Day 2

Tab 4 – HVAC Design Criteria and Air Handling                  

  • Relevant codes, standards and guidelines
  • HVAC design goals and design criteria
  • Air exchange rates and fume hood face velocity
  • Laboratory air recirculation and airflow
  • Use of a psychrometric chart
  • Air handling system arrangements and types
  • Ductwork layout and air distribution
  • Noise, vibration, and filtration

 Tab 5 – Exhaust, Controls, and Energy                      

  • General exhaust
    • Fans and ductwork
  • Fume hood exhaust
    • Discharge location
    • Dispersion analysis
  • Specialized exhaust
    • Radio-isotope
    • Perchloric acid
    • Process exhaust
  • Pressurization controls
  • Piping Systems
  • Energy use in laboratories
  • Energy conservation measures
  • Controls and commissioning

 Tab 6 – Ventilation Measurement and Laboratory Fume Hood Testing

  • Measuring air velocity and flow rate
  • Calculating air exchange rates
  • Laboratory differential pressure
  • High performance fume hoods
  • Flow visualization using smoke
  • Tracer gas testing to measure performance
  • Laboratory fume hood test methods

Day 3

Tab 7 – UW-Madison Lab Buildings                                       

  • Case Studies of Design and Construction
    • Microbial Sciences Building
    • Biochemical Sciences Building
    • Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research
    • Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI)
    • Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID)
  • Site Tours on Campus of WEI and WID

Tab 8 – Plumbing and Fire Protection                                     

  • Codes, Standards, and References
  • Plumbing
    • Eyewash and emergency showers
    • RO / DI and purified water
    • Air compressor and vacuum pumps
    • Special lab waste systems
  • Fire Protection
    • Smoke detectors and alarms
    • Wet, dry, and pre-action sprinklers
    • Alternate suppression systems


"I was mostly looking for a general, holistic understanding of how planning, architecture, HVAC, etc. come together in a lab building. As a mechanical engineer it’s easy for me to lose sight of the holistic project view. This course did a great job pulling me back to that holistic / overall view."
—Dan S., University of Tennessee, Knoxville

"I picked up a lot of general knowledge, and at least some familiarity...packing in a lot of topics I haven't seen in a single short course elsewhere."
—Andrea, University of Wisconsin, Madison 

"The class was great...I loved the topics. Enjoyed the tours. Very nice to put everything together."
—Deborah, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio

"Liked the way topics built on each other. Presenters had an excellent grasp of topics and good examples."
—Jesse, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison

"I learned a lot about HVAC systems and will take that new knowledge and apply it to outfitting and preparing lab spaces for new PIs."
—Pete, Assistant Dean for Facilities, University of Wisconsin, Madison


James Braddock

James R. Braddock, AIA, FAIA joined Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in 1982, became an Associate in 1987 and a Partner in 1996. At the firm Mr. Braddock works primarily on academic institutional and research projects, notably those of the greatest technical complexity and often involving renovations to occupied spaces and requiring phasing. Jim was the Principal in charge for many science laboratory projects in New York City at Columbia University and the CU Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York University and NYU School of Medicine. He is registered in the States of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland, a member of the AIA Science and Research Committee, and a LEED Accredited Professional. Jim has spoken at Laboratory Design, Tradeline and SCUP conferences on sustainability issues in laboratories and renovations to academic science buildings. Mr. Braddock earned his Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, and a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University.

Peter Heaslett

Peter J. Heaslett, PE recently moved to Affiliated Engineers, Inc., a large consulting firm in Madison Wisconsin. Prior to that, he worked as a Project Manager with Capital Planning & Development at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In his 20 years at UW, Pete has collaborated on significant laboratory projects including the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the Wisconsin Energy Institute, the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, the Microbial Sciences Building, the Biochemistry Building, and the Chemistry Building. Pete received his Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from Penn State University.

Steven Kenah

Steven J. Kenah, PE, CEM is a Principal at Loring Consulting Engineers, Inc. and has over 20 years of experience in the design of HVAC systems for laboratories, data centers and other high technology facilities. Steve has been the lead engineer on dozens of higher education research facilities including numerous complex multi-phase renovation projects. Steve has collaborated on projects that have won awards from the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and Engineering News-Record (ENR) including net zero energy projects and projects that meet the Living Building Challenge. Steve is a registered engineer in 12 states and is a member of the New York City Mechanical Code Committee. Steve received his Bachelors in Architectural Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and his Masters in Management of Technology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Klein

Robert Klein, MS, CIH is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) with three decades of experience in the allied environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) fields. Most of his professional career has been with R&D, educational, and healthcare facilities. Rob has led hundreds of applied EH&S research projects, focusing on improving laboratory safety, ventilation, appropriate energy conservation, and sustainability. Rob is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences, and has a significant record of peer-reviewed publications. Recent work has focused on laboratory ventilation assessments, control of formaldehyde in anatomical dissection, noise control, and legacy biological materials. He is currently the principal of Coastal Safety, LLC, an EHS consultancy in Connecticut, and a Lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine.

Mark Malkin

Mark P. Malkin, PE, is a program director in the Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs in the College of Engineering at UW-Madison. He is a registered Professional Engineer with over 25 years of experience in university facilities project management and HVAC systems design. His course offerings include HVAC, plumbing and fire protection fundamentals, building code reviews, and design and operation of science labs, data centers, museums and libraries. Mark received his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and his MS in Mechanical Engineering from UW–Madison.

Ben Weiler

Ben Weiler, CIH, REHS, is an Industrial Hygienist with the Environmental & Occupational Health Unit at UW- Madison. Ben specializes in local exhaust ventilation system testing and commissioning, and he manages the laboratory fume hood performance testing program at UW–Madison.

Past dates