Energy efficiency programs for niche markets: The Labs21 program as an exemplar
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Energy efficiency programs for niche markets: The Labs21 program as an exemplar


Most federal programs that promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in the building industry focus on the larger market segments such as offices, residential buildings, etc. Niche markets such as laboratories are often overlooked and beyond the scope of such programs, for at least two reasons: a) by definition, niche markets are a relatively small "wedge" of the overall energy consumption "pie"; and b) laboratories have health and safety concerns, complex flexibility requirements and are perceived to be less amenable to broadly applicable strategies. Nevertheless, laboratories and other "high-tech" buildings demand the attention of the energy efficiency and sustainable design community for several reasons: - They are a growing segment of the building sector. - They are very energy and resource intensive laboratories on average are four to six times as energy intensive as office buildings, and five to ten times as expensive to build. - There are significant opportunities for efficiency and conservation, especially when compared to other buildings. In this paper, we describe how the Labs21 program, a joint program of the US EPA and US DOE, is structured to meet these needs recognizing that laboratories require very specialized engineering and design knowledge not addressed in academia or industry, and not readily shared to a level commensurate with the needs of this building sector. While Labs21 is focused on one niche market, we also highlight some experiences from this program applicable to other specialized building types.

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