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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is a world-class energy research facility. And while California law requires that the combustion exhaust from their Building 74 Renovation meet state and national emission regulations, LBNL wanted to exceed that requirement and create a better workplace environment. It was critical to the laboratory that any toxic or odorous lab exhaust from chemical fume hood exhaust stacks would not be recirculated back into the air that building occupants would breathe, either in the building that produced the exhaust or in buildings nearby. LBNL also wanted to evaluate the laboratory’s exhaust system for ways to make it more energy efficient.
“The study of the exhaust system allowed the fans to be turned down 50% of the time, which meant large cost savings for the client” ~ Shuen Lo, Gayler Engineering
The laboratory contracted with RMW Architecture Interiors and Gayner Engineering. CPP’s building exhaust dispersion experts were brought in to perform wind tunnel testing to get accurate exhaust concentration estimates at Building 74’s air intakes and at other sensitive locations. CPP constructed a 1:180 scale model of the General Purpose Laboratory and its surroundings and tested the model in one of CPP’s boundary-layer wind tunnels. To understand the impact of emissions from the various exhaust sources, CPP measured exhaust concentration levels at building air intakes and other sensitive locations. CPP engineers also evaluated optimal fan operating parameters to assess potential energy savings. The CPP study found that the chemical fume hood exhaust system could be adjusted to ensure an acceptable working environment for staff and visitors. CPP engineers also found a major cost-savings opportunity. “From the wind modeling, we were able to reevaluate the locations and heights of the building’s exhaust stacks. Instead of building stacks higher, CPP worked with us to redesign the grouping of the stacks more effectively. The study of the exhaust system allowed the fans to be turned down 50% of the time, which meant large cost savings for the client”, said Shuen Lo, Principal at Gayner Engineering.