Sustainability is key for Olathe Environmental Lab

Olathe Environmental Laboratory - Water Testing Facility

The city of Olathe, Kansas voted to approve a new 13,000-square-foot environmental laboratory in the fall of 2016. The goal was to replace their existing 1950’s testing facility to ensure the city is able to meet demands for water quality testing and federal regulations. The new space is nearly three times as large as the old facility and encompasses a number of modern elements including natural light and sustainable materials.

Among the criteria for the new building was sustainability. They didn’t want to disrupt the ecosystem in their new space by the Cedar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and they wanted to increase their energy efficiency.

Labconco was an easy choice for them as a local Kansas City-area company with energy-efficient equipment. According to DeWayne McAllister, Laboratory Manager at Olathe Environmental Laboratory, “there was a desire to follow LEED but not pursue the certification.” The overall energy efficiency of our equipment led them to choose Labconco to outfit the new labs.

XL Fume Hood in Olathe Environmental Laboratory

The project consisted of several Protector® XL™ Fume Hoods, glassware washers, an XVS Ventilation Station and a Logic+ Biosafety Cabinet. These are used for everything from general lab procedures to acid digestions. They are located throughout the building to allow for designated uses.

To meet sustainability requirements, numerous measures were taken to lower operating costs. Natural lighting was introduced (their previous building didn’t have windows in the labs). McAllister said that a building management system was installed to monitor and maintain the HVAC and exhaust which then assists in the efficient use of the equipment.

Labconco equipment further assisted in their goal of following LEED guidelines. Our Protector XL Fume hoods have been thoroughly tested and exceed the SEFA 1 definition of a high performance fume hood.

Our SteamScrubber and FlaskScrubber Glassware Washers reduce water and energy usage compared to hand washing. For example, a faucet dispenses around 3 gallons/minute of tap water. Depending on the glassware and contaminants, hand washing could use 20 gallons or more. Labconco Glassware Washers use as little as 13.6 gallons per load. The difference is as much as 1664 gallons per year. This leads to savings of water and the energy required to heat it. (Our glassware washing cost calculator allows you to adjust the variables to match your own lab.)

The Olathe Environmental Lab opened in 2019 to the delight of its employees. The facility includes offices, a conference room, 5-foot corridors, and multiple labs for microbiology, wastewater, drinking water and training. When asked about the new equipment, McAllister said, “All feedback is positive. Having multiple hoods that are fully functional is a plus over the old facility.”

Our project develpment managers can help you put sustainability into your lab design. 


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