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Types of Laboratories

Different types of laboratories have different requirements for HVAC, plug load equipment and access. Consequently this can lead to enormous variations in energy and water requirements.

The main types of laboratories include:

Wet laboratories - where chemicals, drugs or other material or biological matter are tested and analysed requiring water, direct ventilation and specialised piped utilities. Typically includes chemical science laboratories. These require specially designed facilities. Click here for more information on wet laboratories

Dry laboratories - contain dry stored materials, electronics, and/or large instruments with few piped services. Typically includes engineering or analytical laboratories that may require accurate temperature and humidity control, dust control, and clean power. Click here for more information on dry laboratories.

Microbiological/clinical laboratories - often involve working with infectious agents. Typically require higher levels of primary containment and multiple secondary barriers including specialized ventilation systems to ensure directional air flow, air treatment systems to decontaminate or remove agents from exhaust air, controlled access zones, airlocks as laboratory entrances, or separate buildings or modules to isolate the laboratory.

Animal Research laboratories - also known as vivariums, require highly controlled environments for the care and maintenance of experimental animals. The facilities are complex, and expensive to build and to operate. They maintain tight environmental control over the facility to avoid the introduction of contaminants or pathogens, and prevent the possibility of infectious outbreaks, and avoid the transmission of odours. Click here for more information on animal research laboratories.

Teaching laboratories - unique to academic institutes. They require space for teaching equipment, storage space for student belongings and less instrumentation than research labs. Click here for more information on teaching laboratories.

Cleanrooms - refers to a controlled environment (air quality, temperature and humidity) which prevent contamination and the regulating of environmental conditions, to facilitate accurate research and production needs. Most typically used in UK universities for Nanotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical studies and microelectronics applications.