Centralized Laboratory

Commonwealth of Kentucky Division of Mechanical Services

Project Name
Centralized Laboratory
Commonwealth of Kentucky Division of Mechanical Services
Existing Building Commissioning | Direct-to-Owner Engineering
Completion Date
270,000 sq. ft.
Project Budget


The building is of 1980’s construction. Due to equipment age as well as tenant modifications, regular investment in critical HVAC systems is required to keep the building safe and functional. The building is connected to a campus central plan which is a key component of its smooth operation and system redundancy.

Paladin’s first project in 2015 was needed because of two significant factors – large utility bills and mold and significant water infiltration. We began a process of existing building commissioning to identify simple repairs, like enabling heat recovery, as well as complicated repairs such as notable building pressurization problems creating extreme negative pressure.

Subsequent projects have included fit-up renovations for an expanding Kentucky State Police Forensic Lab, BSL-3 lab improvements, lab air handling unit replacements, and central utility plant upgrades.


Envelope investigation included thermography, extensive functional testing, and a building envelope skin investigation to evaluate installation techniques. Paladin’s investigations revealed that incomplete installation of details on the metal-panel cladding would require reskinning.

Our mechanical systems investigations included operating conditions documentation and the functional testing of utility services and air distribution. Paladin identified the need for revised sequences of operations, the reclamation of 40,000 cfm in unidentified exhaust, CAV/VAV retrofits, and central plant chiller replacement.

The work Paladin completes at the lab involves multiple phases intended to establish clear causality of system issues prior to implementing a commissioning or engineering solution. This is particularly important to the Commonwealth of Kentucky in order to preserve capital budgets and ensure that funds are applied to the highest and best use.

To keep the improvements in place, each of Paladin’s projects has involved extensive owner training and legacy documentation. Owner training modules are customized describing how to run the building in multiple scenarios. Legacy documents are specific to the building and include items like room-by-room air flows, record sequences of operations, and continuously updated current facility requirements.


In the first project Paladin completed at the Centralized Lab, Paladin’s solutions and whole building approach reduced the annual energy consumption by 16.9% (approximately $200,000/year).
Subsequent efforts have seen those savings retained and steadily increasing over the years.

In 10+ years, the Commonwealth has seen a 20% energy reduction. And even though the price per kilowatt hour has increased from $0.051 in 2009 to $0.077 in 2020—an increase of over 50%—the total cost of electricity per year has increased by only 11%.