Go Beyond Awards

2016 Go Beyond Awards

A unique awards program honoring organizations, individuals, products, and projects that are advancing sustainable, high-performance facilities.

2016 I2SL Annual Conference Go Beyond Award Winners

I2SL is pleased to acknowledge the winners of the 2016 Go Beyond Awards. Go Beyond Award winners show their commitment to excellence in sustainability in laboratory and other high-technology facility projects by going beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources, infrastructure and services, and neighboring communities, as well as contributing to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable designs, systems, and products.

The 2016 Go Beyond Awards were presented during a special luncheon ceremony at the 2016 I2SL Annual Conference on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri. The awards recognized the outstanding work done by the following winners:

Individual Awards

Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder

As the Green Labs Program Manager at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), Kathy is an inspiring and effective leader in the sustainable laboratory community. Her incredible energy, enthusiasm, and intelligence have a tremendously positive impact at her home institution and far beyond.

Kathy built a highly effective grassroots organization of Eco-Leaders who promote resource conservation in CU Boulder laboratories. Recognizing that the people who work in the lab best understand their own equipment and procedures, Kathy and her staff have empowered users to reduce energy and water use and waste. In addition to building a comprehensive green labs program on her own campus, Kathy also founded and leads the I2SL University Alliance Group to improve the sustainability of academic research institutions. Kathy was also a lead organizer and contributor to Greening Grants Work Sessions, held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Summit for the past two years. These sessions brought together representatives from research institutions and federal agencies to work toward connecting sustainability and federally supported research. Kathy's encouragement and experience have also been instrumental in coordinating the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge, which was launched at the 2016 I2SL Annual Conference and is cosponsored by I2SL and My Green Lab.

Steve Black, CRB

Steve is a senior project manager and chemical engineer with CRB in Kansas City, Missouri. He is a LEED Accredited Professional with more than 40 years of engineering, design, facility operations, and construction management experience in the advanced technology industry. In addition to his role at CRB, he is also the founding and current President of the I2SL Heart of America Chapter. Steve assisted I2SL in reviewing and visiting several key venues for the 2016 I2SL Annual Conference and embraced the role of liaison with open arms, promoting the I2SL Annual Conference nationally as well as regionally. He spent significant personal time advising and investigating the opportunities for conference tours and evening outings, and immediately became the technical lead coordinator for the conference. Steve's dedication was infectious as he maintained a strong voice promoting I2SL's mission throughout the region's community of professionals, leaders of regional organizations, academic institutions, and others.

University of California, Irvine, Energy Team

The University of California, Irvine, (UC Irvine) Energy Team is a leader in implementing creative and unique ways to curb overall energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions. The team administers the Smart Labs Initiative across its campus. This initiative is a proven, comprehensive energy-savings program that involves re-engineering building control systems in already energy-efficient laboratory buildings from bottom to top to safely reduce energy consumption by an average of 60 percent. Largely because of this initiative, UC Irvine has already achieved a 23 percent reduction in source energy use in just five years.

The Energy Team at UC Irvine has been an outspoken proponent of energy efficiency for well over a decade. The team's outreach has expanded internationally and includes hosting fellow universities and government officials from around the globe. When sharing the story of how the UC Irvine campus saved energy, the team emphasizes that the predominance of the campus's energy consumption occurs in its numerous laboratory buildings. The team made efficient laboratory design, construction, and operation the centerpiece of their sustainability program. They are always looking to strengthen their program, to maximize lab safety, and minimize energy use, but they do not just want to just raise the bar for themselves; they want to raise it for everyone.

Project Awards

John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building: Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA

The Sbrega Building at Bristol Community College (BCC) in Fall River, Massachusetts, brings together under one roof all of the high-energy programs from the BCC campus, including chemistry, biology, and medical and dental education. Despite its demanding lab program, this 50,000 square foot LEED Platinum building operates entirely on site-generated renewable energy, making it the only zero net energy (ZNE) lab building in a cold climate.

During the planning process for the Sbrega Building, Sasaki and BR+A developed a ZNE design in parallel with the high-performance design. After significant research and analysis, the ZNE design not only eliminated fossil fuel consumption, but reduced overall energy consumption by more than 70 percent when compared to the original high-performance design, saving more than $100,000 in energy costs per year and resulting in zero net construction cost.

The Sbrega Building demonstrates that ZNE building designs represent not just viable options, but valuable investments. The Sbrega Building aims to inspire laboratory professionals with proof that laboratory buildings can achieve ZNE at zero net construction cost.

Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Laboratory: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

At the time of its completion in 1981, the Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Building was groundbreaking as one of the first biochemistry buildings in the world, but in 2009 it was in desperate need of renovation. In the spirit of the original building's innovation, Harvard decided to renovate the building, thereby reestablishing it as home to Harvard's laboratory of the future in terms of its design and sustainability. The renovation needed to simultaneously develop a prototypical laboratory environment for the department, and set the standard for environmental responsibility for Harvard laboratories. Harvard enlisted Payette to plan a renovation that would not only save energy, but also allow for a research lab to fit into an existing building with a low floor-to-floor height, as well minimize mechanical equipment sizes to fit within the existing penthouse.

Since opening in 2011, energy consumption per person in the building was reduced by 55 percent compared to pre-renovation, and actual building energy use consistently performs below the modeled expectations. In addition to reducing energy use, water usage in the building is 42 percent below the LEED 2009 baseline. This project demonstrates that with careful planning, pre-existing spaces can be renovated to meet the high demands of laboratory spaces while accomplishing substantial energy and water savings.

Product Awards

Molekule Air Treatment System

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are often harmful and produce powerful odors in the laboratory spaces in which they are used. With its novel design, the Molekule Air Treatment System works to remove these harmful compounds and other contaminants from the air in laboratory facilities, improving air quality for lab users. Currently, the conventional means of treating occupational exposure to contaminants such as these involves the use of makeup air to reduce contaminant concentrations to acceptable levels. However, the potential for indoor air contamination in science laboratories has led to this standard recommending one of the highest suggested makeup air rates (10 cfm per person).

The Molekule Air Treatment System improves air quality in laboratories while decreasing the energy load placed on the building's air circulation system. In this way, the system helps manage laboratory air quality more sustainably. Since activating the Molekule Air Treatment System one year ago, regular sampling of the indoor air at the University of South Florida Clean Energy Research Laboratory has shown total VOC readings of under 50 parts per billion (ppb), whereas levels are still found to exceed 1,000 ppb in areas of the same building where the Molekule Air Treatment System is not active.

Thermo Scientific TSX400 Ultra-Low Freezer

The ultra-low temperature freezer is a staple product in just about any laboratory setting. Scientists and researchers depend greatly on these specialized freezers to preserve the viability of their valuable samples over extended periods of time. In order for these freezers to be effective, they must be able to hold a very tight temperature variance inside of the cabinet, and recover quickly from temperature fluctuations after a door opening event. Historically, this was all accomplished with a design that utilized hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential and required a significant amount of energy to operate.

The Thermo Fisher Scientific TSX400 series ultra-low temperature freezer was designed to meet the rigorous demands of the everyday lab, with features that support sustainability objectives and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP). V-drive technology provides temperature uniformity that continually adapts to the lab's environment, offering significant energy savings without compromising sample protection. At a -70C setpoint, energy consumption is as low as 6.5 kWh/day, a 46 percent reduction compared to conventional freezers. The TSX400 is also manufactured in a zero waste to landfill facility, located in Asheville, North Carolina. The TSX400 series ultra-low temperature freezer goes beyond performance and reliability, providing laboratories with a sustainable, low-energy solution, resulting in a better environment, inside and out.


In addition to the award recipients, I2SL was pleased to receive the following 2016 Go Beyond Award nominations:


  • Alison Farmer, kW Engineering
  • Avi Halpert, United Therapeutics
  • Jacob Knowles, BR+A Consulting Engineers LLC


  • Accutrol AVC Fume Hood Control System
  • TROX Labcontrol Air Management System


  • Argonne National Laboratory: Energy Science Building


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