Sustainable Labs

Sustainable Design and Operation

Research labs often use a large volume of outdoor air requiring a considerable amount of energy. This is driven by requirements to safeguard researchers and their work with 24/7 operation.

The following design parameters for the control system must be established for a laboratory space:

  • Researcher Safety – local and remote display of critical information
  • Room Pressurisation – correct airflow direction generally from clean to less clean spaces
  • Ventilation – correct air change rates
  • Comfort – temperature and relative humidity
  • Fume Cupboards – potential changes in sizes and quantities

Reducing Lab Energy’s Footprint

An Aircuity program can often run labs safely down to two (2) or three (3) air changes per hour (ACH) saving significant energy and reducing the size of HVAC equipment and assemblies.

98% of the time air quality is clean. It’s only a small amount of time that you actually need to increase airflow to clear the air and keep it clean.

Researcher’s safety is enhanced by ensuring that air quality adheres to strict safety standards.

Continuous monitoring of the lab environment provides data on air quality 24/7.

Multiplex sensing technology: Reproduced with permission from Aircuity Inc.

For individual labs with higher than average heat loads then decoupling thermal and airflow control requirements will often increase flexibility and efficiency for the future.

HVAC Controls

Before considering control strategies, we must first understand the fundamentals and know the types of devices that are available for control and monitoring.

Room pressurisation – volumetric offset control provides better performance in most rooms because it is independent of door operation and controls to lower pressurisation levels of 2 to 10Pa. Air volume data l/s in and out of the room verifies ventilation in a user-friendly number of air changes per hour (ACH).

Fume cupboard exhaust airflow – maintaining the desired face velocity m/s at the fume cupboard particularly on a laboratory manifold variable air volume exhaust system can be challenging. The consequences of incorrect face velocity can lead to unsafe conditions with loss of containment when face velocity is too low and energy waste when face velocity is too high. Learn more