Broomfield, Colorado | Laboratory

Colorado Department of Agriculture
New Laboratory

$16.5 M | 31,000 SF

Cator, Ruma & Associates provided the mechanical, electrical, and information technology services for a new laboratory building for the State of Colorado Department of Agriculture. The new laboratory is an outreach facility serving the Colorado community for testing of a variety of samples related to animal food, animal health, pesticides, soil, fertilizer, ground and surface water, and industrial hemp.

  • Bio-chemistry laboratory
  • Metrology laboratory



Three unique testing laboratories are housed within the new laboratory. The 3,000-square-foot animal health laboratory provides testing for equine and bovine animal populations in the region for infectious diseases. The 8,000-square-foot biochemistry laboratory provides testing for animal feed, water, vegetation, soil and pesticides, as well as testing of human and animal foods to detect any harmful contaminants. The 4,000-square-foot metrology lab performs testing of weights and standards to NIST traceable equipment.

With three unique laboratory spaces built under one roof, there was a challenge in separation of these zones to minimize influence between them. The metrology lab is served by a dedicated air handling unit with humidification and dehumidification control, as well as extremely accurate sensors and controls to quickly react to the changing environment and provide the most stable environment for accurate measurements. The other lab spaces were served by a common air handling system utilizing a custom air handling unit with a laboratory ventilation control system to maintain volumetric offset to ensure a safe pressure cascade. This air handling unit is a 100% outside air system with air-air energy recovery heat exchanger. The third air handling system was dedicated to the office space and is a recirculating type VAV system.

The cooling was accomplished with an air-cooled chiller that also employed a pre-cooling evaporative spray system to reduce the energy consumption of the chiller. In the cooler months, a Dry Cooler is used in order to still provide chilled water but at a much lower energy point. The heating system is a condensing boiler hot water system to optimize the energy performance.

The plumbing systems incorporated ultra-low flow fixtures to help reduce the water consumption of the building. Laboratory compressed air, vacuum and gaseous nitrogen were piped throughout.

Considerable time was also devoted to understanding the lab processes and needs to best serve each lab, particularly for equipment needing emergency power to preserve limited lab samples. Extensive coordination with Xcel Energy was also required to meet their new building service requirements. Automatic lighting controls were added to the labs to comply with International Energy Conservation Codes and provide energy savings.

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