Site Selection magazine
twitter linkedIn facebook email email email
From Site Selection magazine, November 2015

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Samantha Turner
Samantha Turner
IAMC Chair

First, I want you to know I feel a deep sense of privilege to serve as the chair of your board of directors for 2015-16. Previous Chair Kevin Dollhopf and those before him set high leadership standards, which I will work hard to meet or exceed.

Second, I extend my personal thanks to IAMC’s committees, staff and especially the Host Committee for their outstanding work on the Cleveland Professional Forum. I know I walked away inspired and with new tools to make me a better professional and person. Isn’t that what we all aspire to?

For the balance of this letter, I’d like to recognize our Associate members for several points of unique value and importance they provide IAMC. Most significantly, the Associates finance about three-quarters of the organization’s budget through their dues, Forum registration fees and sponsorships. I applaud this strong and sustained commitment.

Because they are so invested in the organization, Associates have the most to gain from maintaining IAMC’s culture and core values. For instance, if we find merit and value in the principles that IAMC is industrial focused, has a balanced membership and cultivates a no-sales environment, we have our Associates largely to thank. If these foundational characteristics didn’t contribute to their business success, they’d move their support elsewhere. But how many times have you heard Associates announce they have decided IAMC will be their one and only membership? For me, that’s been many. We know IAMC is not the only game in town. As an organization we are so thankful for our members who make a choice to continue to contribute and help lead our organization with commitment and enthusiasm.

Lastly, the Associates are IAMC’s most numerous and effective promoters in the extensive service provider and economic development markets. Like most professional associations, we consider our marketing and membership development plans vitally important to our success. But, without the day-in, day-out positive conversations about IAMC conducted by our “brand ambassadors,” the 400-plus Associate members, we would not have the success we enjoy as an organization. I believe this is the foundation for much of our growth and progress to date.

So, as the headline says, “Credit Where Credit is Due.” I offer a sincere “Thank You” to all of our Associate members who make IAMC such a remarkable and one-of-a-kind organization, one with which we all are proud to be “associated.”

In closing, I’m excited for the opportunity and privilege to serve you this coming year. Please reach out and let me know how I can help — remember, this is your membership.

Best regards,

Samantha Turner
IAMC Chair

Big Pluses from Net-Zero

This article is taken from the Palm Desert Professional Forum program of IAMC’s Health & Science Industry Group.

The net-zero J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif., completed by McCarthy Companies in February 2014, was designed with LEED-Platinum in mind.
Photos by Stephen Whalen Photography courtesy of JCVI


A net-zero lab or any other type of net-zero building creates as much energy as it uses, making its total energy consumption “net zero.” Modern approaches and technologies provide ways to dramatically reduce the amount of energy a lab or other building type requires, and excess power can be sent to the power grid. Net-zero labs are desired by many companies for their environmental benefits, which can be an attractant for employees.

In some areas, such as Silicon Valley, companies will pay a premium for net-zero space, and interest is growing in geographies other than California. For developers and building owners, net-zero space has lower operating costs and can be quickly leased, commands premium rents, and result in quickly recouping investments.

Health & Science Industry Group participants found the concept of net-zero labs and buildings to be of great interest, but want to see more quantifiable information about the business case.


Eric Soladay described what a net-zero building or lab is, and what the benefits are to owners and users.

Key Takeaways — A net-zero building uses no more energy than it creates

All buildings use energy to operate. But a net-zero building creates as much energy as it uses. In one example, a building pulls energy from the electric grid as it needs it and sends excess power to the grid. At a net-zero building, the result is that the building pulls no more energy than it sends, making the total energy consumption “net zero.” The common strategy at a net-zero building is first to take all possible actions to reduce the amount of energy used. For labs this can mean using new types of refrigerators that are far more energy-efficient, having more windows that let in light for heating, and opening windows to allow for cooling.

An example discussed was the laboratory facility at the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif. This beautiful net-zero facility was designed to minimize energy use. It has:

  • Solar power. There is on-site renewable solar electricity with the entire electric load generated on-site from roof-mounted photovoltaic panels.
  • Green roofs. Roof gardens mitigate the building’s temperature, increase the lifespan of the roof, create new wildlife habitat and mitigate storm water runoff volume.
  • Natural daylight and views. The local micro-climate and views are honored by using filtered direct sunlight in public spaces with strategic glass placement.
  • Water use. High-efficiency plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals conserve water.
  • Low-water landscaping. A palette of local plant species minimizes the need for maintenance, irrigation, or mowing, and creates a natural habitat for local wildlife.
  • Rainwater. Rainwater is captured, mechanically filtered, disinfected and used for non-potable applications.
  • Recycled content. Materials used in the building’s interior space are produced from recycled content.
  • Sustainable wood. All structural timber and wood members are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) to ensure sustainable logging of trees and use of plantation-grown wood.
  • Regional materials. The stone used is from local quarries, and the concrete contains local aggregates.

Net-zero buildings have multiple advantages.

Net-zero buildings are often beautiful, with great lighting and views. They reduce operational costs (a rule of thumb is savings of $3 per sq. ft. in energy costs) and are faster to build. They can be an attractant for employees, as aesthetically pleasing, modern, environmentally friendly places to work. Soladay believes that such environments can boost employee productivity, but IAMC Industry Group participants responded that many of the factors that affect productivity, like open work environments and the ability to collaborate, aren’t related to net-zero energy use.

For building owners in some geographies — such as the San Francisco area — net-zero buildings can’t be built fast enough and are being leased for more than market value. Even some buildings that are extremely unattractive are appealing to those in Silicon Valley if they qualify as net zero.

Developers are finding that they can quickly recoup 100 percent of their investment in net-zero features. Some net-zero buildings were built by organizations passionate about the environment, but Mr. Soladay is now seeing companies embracing the net-zero idea based on the business case. (He shared one example of a 180,000-sq.-ft. lab using a chilled-beam HVAC system that is saving $1 million per year.)

"In the San Francisco Bay area, they can’t build them [net-zero buildings] fast enough and they are being leased for more than market value.”

California is an ideal location for net-zero buildings since the humidity is relatively low; temperatures are often moderate, especially at night; there is often sunshine; and there are often nice views. However, net-zero buildings and labs are popping up across the country, including in Washington, DC, (which often has high humidity) as well as in the Caribbean and India. In addition to net-zero facilities for labs and offices, Soladay also is seeing interest in net-zero for commercial buildings and retail.

Participants were extremely interested in the net-zero concept but were skeptical about claims of increased employee productivity linked to net-zero buildings and labs, finding such claims “squishy,” and wanting to see more data around the cost savings and business case.

Net-zero buildings typically produce extensive data.

An additional benefit of modern net-zero buildings is that multiple aspects and systems are closely monitored and produce large amounts of data. In fact, the amount of data produced is often so overwhelming that it can’t be analyzed. Better software is needed to automate the analysis of the data being produced.

Other Important Points

  • Different than LEED. Participants noted the LEED standards have nothing to do with energy consumption, which wasn’t taken into consideration when developing this standard.
  • Net-zero certification. The International Living Future Institute provides net-zero certification. Getting certified takes one year of operations and requires various measurements to demonstrate net-zero use of energy. To learn more, visit the International Living Future Institute (www.
  • The operator matters. Soladay said that in his experience, the highest-performing buildings are operated and managed by someone who loves the building.
  • Not proven to help with retention. While participants believe that net-zero buildings and labs may be an attractant in recruiting scientists, there is no proof they will play a role in retaining employees. Workplace environment is never cited as one of the top 10 reasons employees depart. The primary reasons are one’s boss, salary, flexibility, colleagues, and ability to choose one’s area of research.

comments powered by Disqus
Site Selection online is a worldwide service of Conway Data, Inc. ©1983-2024, all rights reserved. Data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current. To unsubscribe from our print magazine, contact Julie Clarke. For general inquiries, visit our contact page. For technical inquiries contact the Webmaster.