DAXPRO Academy | Air Costs And Impact On The Lab

     Contamination control equipment is an integral part of most laboratory facility plans. Energy-intensive fume hoods, which essentially remove conditioned air from buildings, have a significant impact on building infrastructure.

     From an HVAC perspective, exhaust air needs return air to properly balance temperature, humidity, and pressure. Because the air needs to be preconditioned, ducted fume hoods can impact building requirements such as larger air conditioning units, boilers, chillers, cooling towers, and fans.

     Research has calculated that laboratories consume 5 to 10 times more energy per square foot than traditional office buildings. How do we address these issues while achieving carbon neutrality?

     Optimizing air quality controls, versus replacing engineered controls, is an option.

1. Cascading effect

     Fume hoods and enclosures should be designed with safety as a top priority.

     When a laboratory designs self-cleaning fume hoods as the primary engineering control system, the impact includes reducing carbon emissions.

     As we aim to become carbon neutral by 2030, self-cleaning fume hoods play an important role in achieving this goal.

     Reducing peak exhaust output can provide significant cost savings, but reducing exhaust output allows buildings to achieve more.

     Let's look at the impact of replacing a traditional fume hood with a self-cleaning hood in a real-world example: Bristol, MA Community College.


     The Bristol High Performance Laboratory was designed to include 22 ducted fume hoods with supply and exhaust airflows of 70,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM). It requires three air handling units (AHUs), one with cyclic heat recovery and the other with enthalpy wheel energy recovery. The proposed redesign replaces this device with:

13 self-cleaning fume hoods

Four ducted fume hoods

CFM: 24,000 air supply and exhaust

Two air handling units

Enthalpy wheel recovery

     In addition to air reduction, the redesign included a combination of ground and air source heat pumps, enthalpy heat recovery wheels, fan coil units, centralized indoor air quality monitoring and natural ventilation. It reduces mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) to just 14 percent of total square footage. In addition, photovoltaic (PV) arrays (half of which will provide 22 ducted fume hoods) are now used to recover energy.


2. A Comprehensive Security Approach

     When considering self-cleaning fume hoods, chemical handling needs must be evaluated to determine if they are suitable for filtration. If so, the filter lifecycle shall be proposed based on analysis using AFNOR NF X 15 211, ANSI Z9.5-2022, CSA Z316.5-2020, and NFPA 45-2023 Edition standards.

     Under normal operating conditions, self-cleaning fume hoods must also be able to keep the user safe and ensure that emissions never exceed one percent of the filter exhaust TLV. After this, the hood must also operate in two additional operational phases: detection and security, each of which guarantees a level of protection in accordance with the AFNOR NF X 15 211 standard.

     A misconception about self-cleaning fume hoods is that they can only be used for small amounts of chemicals or for odor mitigation only. In fact, some ductless fume hoods are approved for most pharmaceutical, organic chemistry, agricultural, and flavor and fragrance applications, among others.

     Fume hood safety concerns run through the entire chemical cycle. Appropriate controls shall be in place to protect the breathing zone of personnel working in the laboratory. These are achieved through a combination of self-cleaning storage, whole room air purification, self-cleaning modules and self-cleaning fume hoods.

     Various safety aspects should be monitored: speed, filtration efficiency and ambient air pollution. Ongoing monitoring provides key safety indicators and helps establish more effective laboratory safety protocols.

3. Embrace new technologies

     Although we may be reluctant to change, we must consider what is good for the environment. The adoption of new technologies can have a significant impact on the future. As we better understand the impact of our actions, we can make changes to improve safety and product performance.

     Self-cleaning fume hoods can improve laboratory design efficiency and add flexibility as laboratories change and grow. Filtration protects you wherever chemicals are present and supports your facility's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.


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DAXPRO Academy | Air Costs And Impact On The Lab

Contamination control equipment is an integral part of most laboratory facility plans. Energy-intensive fume hoods, which essentially remove conditioned air from buildings, have a significant impact on building infrastructure.