Sustainability Stewardship Matters

March 30, 2023

Considerations When Renovating a Laboratory

Understanding the Science

It is important to understand what science is intended to be performed in the lab and how that science drives special considerations or hazards.

  • Are there any specialty lab gases required?
  • Are there any HVAC requirements (temperature, humidity, air change rate, space pressurization, filtration level, etc.)?     
  • Are there any hazards such as lasers that will be used in the space? These may require the use of curtains, barriers, signage, and proper materials such as fire-retardant materials.
  • Does any newly planned equipment have special power requirements such as voltage, clean power, surge protection or back-up power during a power loss?

Proper Materials

Material must be suitable to the science as well as any cleaning, disinfection and sterilization.

  • Flooring may need to be chemical resistant in a wet lab, but a dry electronics lab may require electrostatic-dissipative flooring for sensitive electronics.
  • Countertops may require the following: chemical resistant, moisture resistant, scratch resistant, heat resistant, flame retardant, bacterial resistance, etc.
  • Depending on the cleaning/decontamination needs, the lab may only require a simple wipe down with a cleaner (bleach and water), but higher risk biomedical research may require vaporous hydrogen peroxide or formaldehyde gas. It is important to know the cleaning/decontamination method so that your materials in the space are selected to be able to withstand the cleaning/decontamination process.


Existing labs may require consideration of the following:

  • What existing systems are in place to support the renovation and what are their capacities (lab gasses, HVAC system, lab waste, power/back up power, etc.)?
  • If lab equipment to be used is sensitive to vibration, pre-design vibration testing of the space should be performed.
  • Air Systems - pre-design air balance readings of the existing space and equipment serving the space should be taken to verify the existing systems are capable of supporting the future design.
  • Tying into any existing mechanical systems? Do those systems need any special cleaning/flushing prior to construction (i.e. lab waste piping or fume hood ductwork)? Review with the owner's lab safety group for any requirements).

Circadia Group serves as the owner’s representative to academic institutions as they pursue decarbonization. Through our program management service, we learn a lot about what is and is not working on different campuses. We created this newsletter to share some of our experiences with others we know who are pursuing similar technical projects.

Circadia Group

(609) 375-2899

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