Manufacturer focus: Designing labs, research buildings


CSE: What unique fire, life safety, or security issues have you tackled? Describe the project.

Schneider Electric: The biggest challenges have been integrating security as well as fire and life safety in our current Biosafety Level 4 projects. The amount of redundancy and reliability built-in is 10 times more complex than a BSL-3 or BSL-2 project.

CSE: Describe a recent college or university teaching lab project. What were the challenges and solutions?

Schneider Electric: The biggest challenges have been integrating security as well as fire and life safety in our current Biosafety Level 4 projects. The amount of redundancy and reliability built-in is ten times more complex than a BSL-3 or BSL-2 project.

CSE: What building envelope challenges have you tackled in a recent lab or research facility? Define the problem and solution.

Schneider Electric: The biggest challenges in every area are on our BSL-4 lab buildings. Leakage and building envelope issues go hand in hand. As building automation providers, we must work closely with technically versed architects, engineers and commissioning agents work to execute these immensely complex projects.

CSE: When working in labs, what types of projects have been driven by new requirements in ASHRAE Standard 62.1, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality? What challenging projects have you worked on?

Daikin McQuay: Standard 62.1 has considerable influence on lab projects due to the increased need for energy efficiency and the design challenges of ventilation in lab design. Any lab project with Class 2, 3, or 4 air streams will need to carefully review the requirements of 62.1 for the potential of heat recovery.

CSE: Describe a unique fume hood project—describe the goals, challenges, and your product’s success. 

Schneider Electric: We are currently studying a pharmaceutical building with fume hoods for an energy upgrade. The project team is considering fume hood interior retrofits. In an ideal installation, the aerodynamics of each fume hood is improved such that safety is improved even as the energy use is reduced. The usual goal is to drop the minimum inflow velocity from 100 fpm to 60 fpm.

CSE: When working in facilities that have BSL-3 and BSL-4 containment, what unique systems or products do you provide? Describe a recent BSL facility. 

Schneider Electric: We are currently in design and construction on multiple BSL-4 facilities in the U.S. and overseas. Like race cars help companies design the family car, designing BSL-4 labs help us in designing BSL-3 and BSL-2 labs. One of the results of doing such complex buildings as BSL-4 is Schneider Electric's TVDA approach. Ten years ago, many third-party systems like fire and life safety where integrated in the field for each building. The current approach of TVDA is to test, validate, and document each architecture in the test lab prior to installation in the field. This has led to quicker installation with higher quality and lower cost. This especially applies to integrating systems from third party providers into an overall building automation framework.

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