How to select a fume hood for an energy efficient lab

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When addressing sustainability and energy conservation in laboratories, fume hood options should be evaluated carefully for each individual situation. All costs should be considered in the evaluation; the purchase price is only a tiny fraction of a fume hood's overall cost. Because fume hoods are one of the most common safety features in laboratories and they consume a large amount of energy, it is important to know all of the available options and their associated costs before the final decision is made.

A very important cost that often gets overlooked in the fume hood selection process is the operating cost. Buying a fume hood without evaluating the operating costs is like selecting an automobile without any consideration of gas milage. 

Ronald Blanchard, AIA, LEED, AP BD+C and Andrea Love, AIA, LEED, AP BD+C  of Payette Architecture firm have developed a fume hood selection flow chart after analyzing recent projects where they were able to minimize energy usage from fume hoods. This chart walks through the decision points to consider when selecting fume hoods for a project and covers the range of strategies currently available:

The fume hood is arguably the single most important safety feature in laboratories. They are also one of the major energy users and can use three and a half times more energy annually than the average American house. For safety reasons these devices cannot be eliminated from the lab, however, there are energy-optimization strategies that can reduce their environmental impact and enhance their performance.

To better understand the energy-reduction options available, at Payette we started by analyzing a number of recent projects to catalog the range of strategies used in past projects to minimize the energy usage from fume hoods. We also sat down with fume hood manufacturers to discuss features currently available in hood design to reduce energy consumption, and reviewed published research on hood energy reduction to leverage industry knowledge. Pulling all this data together, we generated a fume hood selection flow chart to assist project teams with the various choices and options available. This chart walks through the decision points to consider when...

Examine the flow chart and read about its development in "Fume hood selection for energy efficient labs" in Laboratry Design.

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