New York State Food Safety and Metrology Laboratory Named Nation’s Healthiest Lab by APHL

(July 29, 2014) The New York State Food Safety and Metrology Laboratory, designed by HDR, has been awarded the "Nation's Healthiest Lab Award" by the Association of Public Health Laboratories. The award celebrates excellence in environmental stewardship and health promotion in both practice and policy, and recognizes the laboratory that demonstrates outstanding efforts to reduce its collective environmental impact and ensure a healthy workplace.

"The New York State Food Safety and Metrology Laboratory is one of the finest public laboratories of its kind in the country, and we are pleased that it's being recognized for its commitment to promoting environmental stewardship and a healthy workplace," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "This state-of-the-art laboratory performs a vital public service by helping ensure a safe food supply for all New Yorkers, and receiving this award is a great achievement for the team at this facility."

Located in Albany, and operated by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the mission of the lab is to protect New Yorkers from food-borne pathogens and illnesses. Over 20,000 food and beverage samples per year are analyzed for biological and chemical hazards, standards of identity, and compliance with state and federal regulations. The facility also safely stores and maintains the State's primary standards of mass, length, temperature and volume, which in turn are used to test commercial weighing and measuring devices such as scales in grocery stores, pumps at gas stations, meters on fuel oil or propane delivery vehicles, and meters in taxicabs.

A simple three-story (plus penthouse) structure, its form derives from a scale—a reference to measurement—with the vertical articulation of much of the building like lines on a scale. The "bar" of the building is comprised of glass-clad offices with a metal shading screen along the southern edge, maximizing views and daylight into the open offices as well as into the labs beyond. The entrance lobby and two-story "floating" atrium at the west end of the building balances the high-bay metrology lab on the east. The metal-paneled atrium block contains a recessed double-height window that offers a framed view to the green. The facility achieved LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, using energy efficient strategies that result in cost savings of over $120,000 per year.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "This is a first-rate laboratory that will serve New Yorkers for generations. Our staff in the Food and Metrology Laboratory couldn't be prouder to be working in such a top notch laboratory that is now being recognized as one of the finest of its kind in the country. It's a tremendous honor for us to be acknowledged on a national scale."