S&T Market Leader: Lab design must support both research and energy goals
IMEG Science & Technology Market Leader Brandon Fortier talks about the challenges facing the S&T sector and other related topics in this Q&A.
Q: What types of science & technology facilities does IMEG design?
A: The IMEG portfolio of science and technology projects runs a broad spectrum of project and owner types. We do a lot of work with the federal government (the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, EPA), higher education institutions, the private sector, and healthcare. Our project types run the gamut – including everything from conventional wet chemistry to plant sciences, acoustic– and vibration–sensitive laser labs, high containment applications such as BSL-3 and BSL-4, and radio chemistry laboratories.
Q: What are the biggest challenges confronting laboratories today?
A: The highest priorities of any laboratory are the function and research in that lab and maintaining the safety of its occupants. The biggest challenge facing the industry right now is to balance these priorities with the ever-increasing energy requirements from new energy codes and new owner goals. Doing that in a new facility is one thing, but as aging infrastructure gets replaced, trying to find that balance in an operating laboratory is another significant challenge. Teaching and educating owners and operators of those facilities how to manage and work with the ever-increasing complications coming from the HVAC industry is also crucial.
Q: What is IMEG’s approach to ensuring design meets the goals of lab owners?
A: We engage our energy modelers and use 3D modeling. We do high-performance rapid modeling early in project design to really set up a project the right way at the beginning. Once we’re done with that design, we leverage our commissioning capabilities to ensure that once the system has been constructed and installed, it performs in a way that’s consistent with the design and can operate in a way that is satisfactory to the owner.
Q: What distinguishes IMEG in its ability to meet all needs of a client?
A: IMEG’s business model is set up with numerous small teams located throughout the country that allow us to meet and engage with owners on a day-to-day basis. We do large and small projects, infrastructure work, and new construction. With a company of our size, we have access to a deep bench of experts across the country when our local teams need national expertise for our owners.