Our Sustainability Ethos.

Using our in depth technical knowledge, smart Lean Design approach and vast experience in the laboratory industry, we can work with you to identify opportunities to improve those key considerations that are important for your project.

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Designing for sustainability is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. A growing number of scientific institutions and companies are making a point of being more mindful about their waste, water and energy consumption. As with all elements of design, we can tailor our approach to suit each client’s varying needs and requirements regarding levels of sustainability. We will always look to propose products that have high environmental credentials whilst staying in line with both the brief and budget. We help clients rethink “the way we have always done this” to identify new approaches and reduce the environmental and carbon impact from their workplace. We aim to work with suppliers that champion sustainable materials in their products.

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Our three design principles.

We focus on three main design principles for sustainable laboratory design:




Did you know?

On average laboratories use 4x more water and 10x more energy than offices! The average laboratory also creates over 5.5 metric tons of waste per year! A core focus on our designs is how to reduce these numbers, saving our clients money while saving the environment.

Lab design.

We consider the below to be critical aspects of a sustainable laboratory.

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  • Increased energy and water conservation and efficiencies.
  • Prescience and reduction of harmful substances and waste.
  • Recycling and increased use of products with recycled content.
  • Design with use of local materials and suppliers to our client site locations reducing carbon footprint.
  • Provide openness, connectivity, interaction and collaboration dissolving the barriers.
  • Re-purpose buildings designed to be “made again”.
  • Considering long term longevity and resilience.
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  • Making products and specifications adaptable, cost efficient and easily responsive to constant change.
  • Complete user control to ensure happy and satisfied employees.
  • Designing for social equalities and giving something back to the local community.
  • Direct experiences with nature – daylight, views and glare control.
  • Consider the subliminal experience of nature through durable material uses, colours, shapes and aesthetics.
  • Focus on the experience within the facility, how people move and circulate to ensure maximum human comfort.

Energy Efficiency.

The average chemical fume hood exhausts around 750 to 1,000 cubic feet of conditioned air per minute, placing a significant burden on the lab’s HVAC system and operational costs, but converting from a CAV to a VAV system can reduce this burden considerably.

Catalyst can discuss the differences, advantages and disadvantages between CAV, RAV & VAV.

By introducing control measures, we can reduce energy costs by up to 85%. New systems can pay for themselves over a short period of time.

Through the use of our process, we take considerations to:

  • Insulation envelopes that resist thermal transfers.
  • Heating and water service systems to achieve optimum energy efficiencies.
  • Loss & gain from ducted and plumbed pipe-works.
  • Ensuring artificial lighting is achieving optimum energy efficiencies.
  • Form and fabric of the building to minimise the use of mechanical ventilation and cooling systems.
  • Ensuring the HVAC and chemical extraction systems achieve optimum energy efficiency.
  • An essential balance between function, health & safety and operational efficiency.
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