Laboratories Going Green!
Pushing for Sustainability
For the next twenty to thirty years, more and more universities, institutions and chemical facilities worldwide are pushing for a sustainable laboratory. With the cost of energy bills steadily increasing year after year, surely the money spent for laboratory operation is certainly no longer a joke. Most laboratories account for nearly half of the energy consumption, hence, the platform for most design engineers for Laboratories Going Green.
The key to a well-planned and sustainable laboratory is to take control of the practices and technologies you can implement right now. Building engineers, architects, contractors and lab users should fully coordinate with one another for the proper laboratory layout designing and buying of the right equipment.
Guide for a Greener Laboratory
Now that you’ve understood your current situation, it’s now time to get started. Here are some pointers that can help you build a greener laboratory. The goal here is to ultimately reduce energy usage in the Laboratory for more practical savings.
1. Push for a Green Laboratory Layout
Play smart in how you’ll have your laboratory designed. Save energy by implementing the following solutions:
- Daylight in laboratories to lower lighting cost. Studies have shown that daylighting helps increase productivity and enhance performance.
- Energy recovery system in ventilation such as air to air exchange using enthalpy wheels.
- Manifold Exhaust Systems
- On-site Power generation systems that takes advantages of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind.
2. Use Energy Efficient Equipment
The next step is to select equipment that performs the same function yet consumes less energy.
You can change lighting to energy saving bulbs by using electronic ballast to improve efficiency.
You can also implement a zonal control over your air conditioning system by separating rooms to reduce operating costs.
Remember going green means a huge reduction in your energy consumption.
3. Choose the right size for your equipment
Over sizing increases energy consumption. So right sizing is the best strategy. Engineers may have the tendency to oversize central cooling and heating system so it’s best to give.
them the right picture by telling them what you need. Also, when buying equipment, consider the size that you need.
4. Check your Ductwork System
- Ensure no leakage.
- Insulate the ductwork where possible to reduce energy exchange with surrounding air.
- Regularly do maintenance checks to ensure ductwork is performing optimally.
5. Use Energy-Efficient Fume Hoods
Certainly the cost of running a full blown fume hood in a laboratory is certainly not a joke. More so if you maintain more than two of this equipment. Fume hoods are energy hogs. Based on a study conducted, each one consumes more energy than three homes in an average US environment. Depending on climate and system design, estimated energy costs for fume hoods range up to US$9000 annually, based on velocities of 0.5 m/s (100 fpm) at full sash open position for a 1.8 m (72”) hood.
The trend now is again towards Going Green by using high performance low flow fume hood. This type of fume hood can operate at a reduced face velocity of 0.3 m/s at full open position while still maintaining excellent ASHRAE and EN containment. Exhaust volume reductions of up to 58% may be achieved without compromising safety. This translates to an annual operating cost savings of up to approximately US$5600.
Another option is to use ductless fume hoods which consume less energy since it doesn’t require the use of an exhaust blower, which is also considered as a huge energy spender. See product page for a list of recommended green fume hoods for your laboratory.
6. Practice Good Laboratory Habits
- Switch off equipment when not in use.
- Close sash of fume hoods when not in use.
- Always have equipment undergo maintenance check.
- For more Good Laboratory Habits, please click here.