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The use of chemicals and other potentially hazardous compounds separates laboratories from other types of building spaces. Keeping lab and building occupants safe must be the primary concern. Temperature and humidity control must be tightly controlled for occupant comfort and experiment integrity.
Laboratories typically have high ventilation, driven by fume hood exhaust flows and air change rates, to meet these concerns. But high ventilation causes high operating costs. In fact, laboratories use six times the energy of a similar office building. Energy-efficiency is of considerable importance to minimize operating costs.
Laboratories are normally maintained at a lower (negative) pressure than surrounding building areas help prevent contaminants from spreading throughout a building. Standard types of fume hood and laboratory control types are:
In a laboratory using VAV controls, airflows supply and room exhaust airflows must change in response to fume hood exhaust and room temperature fluctuations. Typical room types and their recommended control strategies are:
VAV fume hood controls are designed to maintain a constant face velocity, so the fume hood only exhausts the air necessary for containment. The two VAV fume hood controls options are:
Types of VAV laboratory terminal devices are commonly used:
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Watch video that disproves commonly-held beliefs about two competing control strategies—sash position control and sidewall sensing—to help you to select a safe lab control system.
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