Laboratories use significantly more energy than typical office buildings. As much as 50% of lab energy consumption is wasted by excess airflow, inefficient fume hoods and failure to meet the demand for ventilation. To address this issue, a process was developed through work with the U.S. EPA, LBNL, and UCI. The process was also the basis for the 2015 Public Works and Government Service of Canada (PWGSC) Standard MD15127 Lab Energy and Safety Optimization Process (Lab ESOP) and parallel effort known as the UCI Smart Labs™ program (https://www.ehs.uci.edu/programs/energy/).
The goal is to provide a cost effective means to better protect people, reduce energy consumption, and maintain lab environments that promote high-quality research and scientific development.
As leaders in the field of laboratory ventilation and principal consultants during development of Smart Labs™ and the Lab ESOP, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc. (ECT) and CPP Wind Engineering Consultants (CPP) are uniquely qualified to work with lab owners, utility providers, and other stakeholders to maximize energy savings while maintaining safe and productive laboratory environments.
During the 1st phase of the process, ECT and CPP will conduct a low-risk assessment of the current operating conditions of the facility. This includes:
• Meeting with key stakeholders
• Analysis of building documentation
• Survey of the laboratories
• Evaluation of fume hoods and exhaust devices
• Collection and analysis of ventilation performance and operating status
• Identification of potential Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs)
When the results indicate sufficient opportunities for energy reduction, we conduct a deeper analysis that compares current operation to the demand for ventilation, describes specific measures to improve performance, quantify potential energy savings, estimate project costs and determine project payback periods. This analysis addresses issues such as:
• Air change rates and ventilation effectiveness
• Fume hood flow and containment
• Exhaust stack discharge and plume dispersion
• Efficiency of exhaust and air supply systems
Phase 2 involves implementation of the measures to optimize performance and energy reduction. Depending on the state of the systems and potential benefits, the work can include simple measures such as upgrading fume hoods and re-balancing airflow, to more involved measures such as Variable Air Volume (VAV) upgrades, use of demand control ventilation and wind responsive VAV exhaust systems.
While much of this effort is overseen by our team, optimization projects may also include the services of MEP engineers, mechanical and controls contractors, TAB contractors, Cx agents, and chemical fume hood certifications depending on the scope and specific needs of the project.
The final, and often overlooked, phase of the process is life-cycle management and sustainability program. We have clear evidence that the operation of facilities as complicated as laboratories can change and degrade overtime resulting in excess energy consumption and more importantly, increased safety risk and greater potential for liability. Phase 3 involves development and implementation of a Laboratory Ventilation Management Program (LVMP) that provides direction, education, and training to stakeholders involved in the day to day operation of the laboratory. The LVMP includes monitoring operation, system maintenance, routine testing of fume hoods, review of BAS (building automation system) reports, management of change procedures, generation of building performance reports and training for key stakeholders including building managers, maintenance, EH&S personnel and laboratory occupants.
When you design and build a new laboratory, you’re not just responsible to financial stakeholders: You owe it to your future clients and employees to ensure that it’s a safe and healthy place to work. Contact CPP or ECT today to learn how we can ensure your laboratory is safe, comfortable, and efficient.