Laboratory Fume Hood Conflict "Energy Savings" vs "Safe Containment"Source: Labconco Corporation
Safety is the primary purpose of any laboratory hood. Facility managers and laboratory planners desire fume hoods that can conserve energy without compromising safety. Exhausting less air through a hood can result in substantial energy savings. For example, typical supply air costs for a 6-foot by-pass hood operated at 100 fpm (1180 CFM) is estimated over $8,000 annually.* At the same time, safety officers are concerned about hood performance when they are operated below accepted guidelines and standards.
Laboratory fume hood manufacturers continue to reconcile this conflict between “energy savings” and “safe containment” using a variety of approaches. Restricting the sash opening with sash stops or horizontal-sliding sashes is one example. Another approach is to use sash position and airflow sensors that control the opening and closing of mechanical rear baffles. Yet a third scenario uses small fans to introduce air near the operator’s breathing zone to create a barrier to contaminants inside the hood. This paper focuses on Labconco’s alternative approach to the development of a high performance or low flow laboratory fume hood that does not rely on user training, restricted sash openings, airflow sensors and electronic control, mechanical components, or additional fans.