When it comes to planning your laboratory, make sure the fume hood mechanical system is factored into the design.
During the design phase, it is important to ensure that the fume hood mechanical system comprising HVAC, plumbing, and valving complement the fume hood system, as well as the laboratory and building.
Mechanical Systems — First Steps
To match your fume hood mechanical system to your fume hood laboratory, take these three steps:
- Determine the type of work done in your lab.
- Identify safety needs.
- Figure out cost of energy, based on frequency of hood use and climate
Low-Energy, High-Maintenance Mechanical Systems
For those trying to reduce energy costs, variable air volume systems may be just what you’re looking for. These systems exhaust air depending upon fume hood use. When the sash is open, energy use increases. When it’s closed, energy use automatically decreases. This advanced technology means that variable air volume systems are more expensive to purchase up front, but many laboratories easily save money in reduced energy costs in the long term.
Variable Air volume systems do require consistent monitoring and maintenance to ensure they are working properly.
Easy-to-Maintain Mechanical Systems
For those looking for less inexpensive mechanical systems that are easy to maintain and monitor, constant exhaust and supply airflow systems may be the best option. These systems work best with fume hoods that exhaust consistent air regardless of whether the sash is opened or closed. While this type of mechanical system is less expensive up front, the long-term costs can be high due to the amount of energy it uses.