genentech building

The Challenge: Maximum Savings

The biotech company Genentech had ambitious energy-efficiency and employee-comfort goals for its new 255,000-square-foot building in South San Francisco. But how could the company make sure the building would perform as intended?

The Solution: FLEXLAB®

The newly operational U.S. Department of Energy's FLEXLAB® facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) provided a world-class facility for testing and optimizing integrated building systems under real-world conditions and maintaining the high performance of the building once it is occupied. FLEXLAB takes the guesswork out of creating a comfortable work environment in an energy-efficient building and provides other benefits, as well.

Gerald Robinson and Henry Coles set up testing equipment for the experiment

The Bottom Line: State-of-the-Art Building Sets a New Bar for Energy Efficiency and Control

  • Genentech estimates that this new building will be approximately 30 percent more efficient, based in part on the data collected with the FLEXLAB experiment.
  • The FLEXLAB experiment showed Genentech how to reduce energy use for lighting by 60 percent in open-plan office areas.
  • That’s energy savings of 60 percent on a baseline that already included daylight dimming.
  • These additional savings were achieved by aggressively tuning the lighting controls beyond the default daylight-dimming baseline commissioned by the lighting-control vendor.
  • The energy saved – documented in April/May as an absolute savings of 106 kWh per day – extrapolates to a savings of roughly $4,145 per year from this one lighting-control measure alone (assuming 15¢ per kWh).
  • With an estimated payback time frame of three to five years, and continued energy savings after that, FLEXLAB testing made good business sense for Genentech.
  • Genentech knows a comfortable workspace enables its employees to do their best work.


Download the full case study here: Genentech


"FLEXLAB represents a handshake between science and architecture."
—Andrew Keller, Genentech Senior Principal Site Planner