Sustainability labs

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Home of the MADD Scientists - "Making A Difference Daily"....

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go to Current Labs Summary
go to Labs Sessions - 2016
go to Labs Highlights
go to Labs As-Builts
go to Labs As-Builts by Category
go to Commissioning Design Center
go to Labs Idea Bin
go to Labs Tool Box
go to Labs Help Wanted
go to GG Labs Google Groups


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  • 'Citizen Science seeking Truth in Urban Sustainability'
  • Our goal is to scientifically study urban sustainability, turning beliefs into knowledge.
  • We perform scientific study to support sustainable stewardship of our Community and Earth, seeking the truth of our actions and having fun doing it.
  • Pursuing the "truth through science". We are the "truth window" into the Green Garage.
  • The relationships we create are important to us and require maintenance.
  • "Any result is a result." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
  • "Failure is always an option." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

Main Areas of Practice

  • Operating within the Green Garage Ecosystem, we have three main areas of practice:
    • Survival - basic needs met - necessary for the Green Garage to properly function (building & community)
    • Evolution - continuous improvement - keeps us moving forward true to our foundational elements
    • Play - voluntary experiments or collaborations; keeps us healthy - creates stronger connections to the community and World


Building Comfort Systems Lab

  • Elements of Lab
    • Heating comfort & energy
    • Cooling comfort & energy
    • Dehumidification and ventilation comfort & energy
    • Domestic hot water availability & energy
    • Lighting comfort & energy
  • Main Considerations
    • Building System Operations
    • Data Collection
    • Analysis of Data/Trending
    • Occupant Feedback & Comfort
    • Energy Production & Usage
    • Continuous Improvement
      • Predictive Controls
      • Optimization of Systems & Operations

Water Lab

  • Elements of Lab
    • Collection of Rainwater
    • Usage of Rainwater
    • Usage of City Water & Sewerage

Waste Lab

  • Elements of Lab
    • Trash Audits
    • Composting
    • Recyclables
    • Trash


  • Urban Sustainability Library
  • Green Garage Services
  • In Residence Businesses
  • Business Greenhouse
  • Other Organizations
  • Virtual Community

Related Internal Links


Labs Notebook & To Do's

Agenda History

Items to be Developed Further

  • Daily Building Setup of Comfort Systems
    • Remote Access
    • Local Adjustment
  • In Residence Community Feedback on Comfort Systems - IN PROGRESS (Mike P.)
  • Green Garage Weather Station - ON HOLD; National Weather Service Detroit City Airport being used
    • Selection - DONE
    • Procurement & Partnership Potential (Davis Instruments)
    • Mounting Location
    • Interface with Building Comfort Controls
    • Interface with Weather Underground

First Evolution of Labs Group

  • In Residence Participants
    • Perform field work at GG
    • Document activity for remote participants and history
    • Your Customized Role is based on what you love to do and can flex with your interest and schedule. Some of the more active roles do involve a commitment for a period of time so that we can successfully complete our mission.
      • Labs Point of Contact - if you love communication, documentation, organization, helping to manage
      • Labs Truthologist - if you love the hands on, get dirty, use your brain, finding the truth in its purest form
      • Labs Observer - don't have time to be super active but still have an interest and opinion to share; be a Labs backseat driver or peanut gallery
  • Remote Participants
    • GG Labs Wiki
    • Google Groups - discussions
    • Google Docs Polls - forms to poll opinion or vote on selections
    • Labs Twitter - link to other developing stories, like Labs FB
    • Labs FaceBook - cover new stuff that is going on
    • tumblr - blogging? Check with Library
  • Urban Sustainable Library (USL) Collaboration
    • Liaison to the Labs - Helen
    • List of contacts interested in labs with various classifications of interest and involvement - work with Library
    • Wiki - Main Page interface to Labs
    • Google Groups
    • Drop Box for shared files storage
    • Will there be a referral system? Yes
    • GGSL Communication Plan
  • Business Greenhouse (The BG's or ?) Collaboration
  • In-Residence Businesses (IRB or Homey's or ?) Collaboration
    • Education/training on building systems operation and how they may impact it
    • Assist in understanding plug loads
  • Green Garage Services (GGS or Services or ?) Collaboration
    • Building Opening/Closing Walk Around
      • Observe any unusual noise, water on floor, condensation anywhere
      • Check that Earth Room door is closed
      • Check windows open/closed depending on if Natural Ventilation Day
      • Check that lights are on/off depending on occupancy/outside conditions; does it make sense for automatic lights, if any
      • Check that designated GG Services plug loads are off nights/weekends (are there any that have to stay on or are more energy efficient if remain on?)
    • Test emergency lighting annually
    • Weigh trash as it is removed from building

Labs Services

  • What do you go to the Labs for (consider from each of the other GG seeds)?
  • "Under Construction" - no Labs Services for the first 6 months while getting established
  • Urban Sustainable Library
    • Science Information & Consulting
    • Collaborate on articles, media creation
    • "Behind the Scenes" Tours
  • Business Greenhouse
    • Science Information & Consulting
    • Studies
  • GG Services
    • Building Systems Optimization
    • Continuous Improvement Advice & Support
  • In Residence Businesses
    • Science Information & Consulting
    • Studies
  • Collaborators/Partners
    • Establish & maintain relationship
    • Feedback information & reporting
    • Host tour, event, visit, etc. collaboration


  • Scales - weigh trash
  • Wireless Web Cam - observe experiments; monitor equipment readouts not on DDC
  • Plug Power Meter - measure plug loads
  • Breaker/Panel Power Metering? - lighting study, plug load study
  • Temperature/Humidity Handheld Meter - calibrated
  • Measure water temps through PEX where no sensor provided
  • Rolling cart for experiments & documenting


  • Recipe for Labs Sessions content (see Mind Map of Energy in Green Garage Sustainability Labs One Earth Pattern) - DONE
  • Develop Experiment Tracking Spreadsheet that contains experiment parameters (lead, start, end, goals, how used, etc.) - DONE
  • Design Experiment Template Workbook for conducting experiment and reporting data - outline, measurements to be taken, reporting, who does what, timeline (scheduling & sequencing) - DONE
  • Create Labs Idea Bin - DONE
  • Update Labs Experiment Template for Wiki to Add sections on collaboration (in residence, other organizations, remote/virtual), relationships, available jobs - DONE
  • Intern write-up & check with Janice Means for potential candidates (small volunteer project first) - DONE
  • Create Labs Help Wanted page and interface with Main Page - DONE