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Technology Report June, 2003

Laboratory Ventilation Systems Getting the Best Bang for the Buck
This report focuses on what type of ventilation system can yield the most favorable life cycle cost for a chemical laboratory with fume hoods. In many situations it's not possible to provide a one size fits all answer because of the many individual variables involved. Laboratory activities extend from basic chemistry instruction in teaching labs to advanced research. Laboratory rooms vary in size and involve an endless array of furnishings and equipment. All of these factors impact the type of ventilation system that will be most appropriate, as well as result in the lowest life cycle cost. This report is intended as a guide to selecting the type of ventilation system that is likely to attain the lowest life cycle cost for a specific type of laboratory and thus get the best bang for the buck.

Constant Air Volume (CAV) 1Position
A CAV 1-Position ventilation system provides a constant ventilation airflow through a laboratory room and its fume hoods during both the occupied and unoccupied periods—24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It is the simplest system to design and requires a limited amount of associated airflow controls. It also requires a minimum amount of knowledge and oversight by support (maintenance) personnel. However, the tradeoff for this simplicity is high-energy consumption since there is no provision for reducing ventilation airflow during times when the room is unoccupied or the fume hoods are not being used. However, in certain limited applications, the CAV 1-Position ventilation system can be the optimum type of system.

Ventilation System Characteristics
Laboratory ventilation standards require that a laboratory's ventilation system must remain functioning at all times when there are hazardous chemicals within the room or a fume hood. Under these situations, the laboratory room's ventilation system may only be fully shut down for short periods when necessary for testing, adjusting and servicing. At all other times some amount of ventilation airflow must be maintained. Thus, energy consumption becomes a significant expenditure. Figure 1 shows the relative energy consumption characteristics of the commonly applied types of laboratory ventilation systems during the room's occupied and unoccupied periods. An overview of each type of ventilation system follows. See Table 1 for the recommended ventilation system for various chemistry laboratory applications.

Constant Air Volume (CAV) 2Position
A CAV 2-Position ventilation system provides two levels of ventilation airflow through the laboratory room and its fume hoods. It provides a higher ventilation airflow rate when the laboratory room is occupied and a lower amount when the room is unoccupied. As with the basic CAV 1-Position system, it is not a very complex design and requires only a modest amount of associated airflow controls. It requires some supervision and knowledge by support personnel, and is often the optimum type of ventilation system for certain types of laboratories.

Siemens Industry, Inc. Document No. 149- 980

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It requires a careful ventilation system design and a sophisticated airflow control system. In other words. a LAF system can be implemented as a 1-Position or 2Position type of system. Inc. Low Air Flow fume hoods typically consume about 60% of the airflow of conventional CAV fume hoods. 1. Document No. Since it is basically a CAV type of system.100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 CAV-1 CAV-2 LAF-1 LAF-2 VAV OC UN OC UN OC UN OC UN OC UN Figure 1. Variable Air Volume (VAV) A VAV ventilation system is intended to provide just the right amount of airflow through a laboratory room and its fume hoods 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. nor have they established a history of satisfactory implementation and performance. Page 2 of 10 Siemens Industry. because it is critical to ensure that the proper level of airflow is maintained. Like the CAV system. Also. However. it has the potential to reduce energy consumption continually and not just when a laboratory room is unoccupied. In many instances the VAV ventilation system is the optimum type of system due to the potential energy savings and operational flexibility. an LAF type of system can be an optimum choice in certain applications. LAF systems require significant vigilance by support personnel. Comparative Energy Consumption Characteristics for Laboratory Ventilation Systems During the OC (Occupied) and UN (Unoccupied) Times of the Day. It also requires knowledgeable staff personnel to monitor and operate the VAV system. A VAV system can also achieve a lower ventilation related room sound level since it keeps the airflow at the minimal level. it is not overly difficult to design. Low Air Flow (LAF) 1 & 2-Position LAF 1 & 2-Position ventilation systems are basically CAV systems that achieve a lower ventilation airflow in conjunction due to the use of Low Air Flow 1 chemical fume hoods. but it does require some amount of associated airflow control to ensure proper and safe operation. VAV also provides much operational flexibility since fume hood face velocity and other ventilation parameters can be easily reset as needed. The major benefit of the VAV system is that it is the most energy efficient since it can reduce energy usage whenever a fume hood sash is not fully open. 149-980 . Low Air Flow fume hoods generally have a considerably higher initial cost than conventional fume hoods. which is an important factor in considering the overall life cycle cost. the concept of LAF fume hoods is relatively new and has not yet received wide acceptance within the industry. As with the other types of systems.

In such instances. All of the ventilation systems listed in Table 1 can be designed and controlled to meet the ventilation system functions listed above. 3. 5. Document No. In rooms having only one or two small fume hoods a room general exhaust may also be required to attain sufficient total room exhaust airflow for this purpose. an entry vestibule can be provided and maintained at a negative static pressure to prevent undesired transfer of laboratory room air to nonlaboratory areas and vice-versa. Inc. Table 1 lists the advantages and disadvantages of each type of system and provides general guidance for the type of system most suited for different types of laboratory facilities. 3. 2. The commentary that follows provides details on the recommendations listed in Table 1. 4. Maintain the required differential between the room's supply airflow and total room exhaust airflow to attain the required negative or positive static pressurization 3 relationship between the room and adjacent areas. Later in this document there are guidelines for determining the actual potential energy consumption for the different types of ventilation systems. Chemical laboratory rooms normally are required to be negatively pressurized to prevent room air from migrating out to non-laboratory areas. Siemens Industry. Maintain sufficient total room exhaust airflow to achieve the room's minimum ventilation rate in air changes per hour 2 . Maintain enough total room exhaust airflow to allow sufficient supply airflow for maintaining the room ambient temperature and humidity2. Maintain necessary fume hood exhaust airflow. 149-980 Page 3 of 10 .Ventilation System Functions Regardless of the type of ventilation system they must all fulfill five requirements: 1. 2. Provide sufficient room makeup airflow to balance off the fume hood exhaust and other exhausts. The major differences lie in the cost effectiveness and suitability of each ventilation system for the specific application. In some instances laboratory rooms require positive pressurization to prevent contamination from adjoining spaces.

Small College: Undergraduate Chemistry Teaching Laboratory 3.2-Position 8.2-Position VAV LAF . Small Testing and Analysis Facility: Private laboratory or a small laboratory within a medical or commercial enterprise. Provides basic and higher level chemistry instruction. Labs generally occupied according to a set schedule. VAV LAF 5. University Research Laboratories Laboratory Function Provides testing and analytical services for environmental. but frequent variations are likely. Recommended Ventilation System Types for Various Chemistry Laboratory Applications. Small/Mid-Size Commercial and Industrial Firms Large Commercial and Industrial Firms CAV -2-Position LAF . Government Agencies:  Crime Laboratories  Regulatory Agencies Conducts testing and analytical services on evidence and for regulatory compliance purposes. Rigidly scheduled usage periods. Type of Facility 1. Research conducted by top-level scientists." Thus. Government Research  High Tech Defense  Space Research 7. Most testing is done in a prescribed manner with no research of experimentation. High-level research by esteemed researchers and graduate students. Advanced research under high security conditions. Rigidly scheduled usage periods. Quality control and product development testing and research. Work is performed during a routine business day. medical. CAV -2-Position VAV LAF . Work is performed during routine workday hours. Occupancy and use ranges from intensive to sporadic and on any day and time. Large College or University: Large Undergraduate and Graduate Chemistry Teaching Laboratories 4. The lab may not be utilized for extended periods such as a summer semester. and other specialty purposes. Limited use of toxic or dangerous chemicals. Various levels of testing. No highly toxic or dangerous chemicals are present. 149-980 .Table 1. but schedule variations can occasionally occur. Labs generally occupied according to a regular schedule but schedule variations frequently occur. Page 4 of 10 Siemens Industry. Document No. if all chemicals are removed from a fume hood its exhaust system is not required to remain operating. Some labs may not be use for summer semesters. Inc. Usage Pattern Mainly involves repetitive testing in a prescribed manner. Unless the fume hood exhaust system is also required to maintain the required laboratory room ventilation rate and negative pressurization. CAV 2-Position CAV 1-Position with a fume hood exhaust shut-down 4 provision CAV 2-Position Possibly with a fume hood exhaust shut-down provision4 VAV Does not follow a specific usage schedule. 4 NFPA 45 states: "The hood shall provide containment of the possible hazards and protection for personnel at all times when chemicals are present in the hood.2-Position VAV LAF . 2. No research or experimentation is conducted. Ventilation System Recommendation CAV 1-Position Possibly with a fume hood exhaust shut4 down provision CAV (2-Position) Provides basic chemistry instruction. the fume hood exhaust system could be shut down when the laboratory room is unoccupied. Labs generally occupied according to a set schedule. product development and research for a wide array of purposes.2-Position 6.

However.) A simple CAV 1-Position system will likely waste too much energy during the unoccupied periods. the fume hoods are limited in size (5. additional savings might be attained if the fume hood exhaust can be shut down. A CAV 2-Position system is also not a good fit since there is no predictable occupancy schedule. 4. Fume hoods are usually modest in size (6-feet wide units) and the technicians may be at their fume wood for most of the day. a CAV 2-Position system may be appropriate. they probably do not have any high-level support personnel who are needed to maximize a VAV system's potential or to ensure that an LAF system is properly functioning. because of their modest size. 3. additional energy savings to justify its increased cost. which provide maximum benefit when fume hood sashes are closed.) 5. Such facilities are usually best served by a CAV 1Position system and the fume hood exhaust can sometimes include a shut down provision. A simple CAV 1-Position system will waste far too much energy when the fume hoods are not being used. if the lab will not be utilized for extended periods (such as a summer semester). a VAV system may be beneficial in very large teaching laboratories because it can lower the overall room sound level when the fume hood sashes are not fully open. Government Agencies Government agency laboratories are found at the federal.) If the facility is larger. VAV systems. a simple CAV 1-Position system might be appropriate if the fume hood exhaust can be equipped with a shutdown provision. (See note 4 in Table 1. Small Testing and Analysis Facility These laboratories are often small commercial operations with only one or two laboratory rooms. would probably not achieve the lowest life cycle cost since the fume hoods in these facilities may be in use for long periods of time and perhaps all day long. LAF type systems may not result in the lowest life cycle cost due to their significantly higher initial cost and the extra care that the fume hood users must exercise.or 6-feet wide units) and the testing requires only small amounts of non-toxic chemicals. These types of laboratory applications are likely to require a thorough life cycle analysis to determine the most applicable type of system. Therefore. This includes crime labs and regulatory agencies that test for compliance with stack emissions. Also. (See note 4 in Table 1. these applications generally favor the CAV 2-Position system even though a VAV or LAF 2-Position system may also be a good fit. Also. As an alternative. Small College Undergraduate chemistry teaching laboratories typically operate for only a limited amount of hours throughout the year. A VAV type of system will usually not provide enough Siemens Industry. (See note 4 in Table 1. An LAF 1Position system is a possible alternative. These types of facilities mainly employ lab technicians who conduct repetitive testing during a fixed daily occupancy schedule. Technicians or workers conduct routine and repetitive testing that can involve daylong use of the fume hoods. Large College or University Since larger academic teaching laboratories typically operate during a specific time during the day.1. A VAV type of system is usually the best type of system for these applications. 2. wastewater discharge and other environmental related factors. having several laboratory rooms. a CAV 2Position type of system is ideally suited for this application. Generally. 149-980 Page 5 of 10 . These laboratories do not operate according to a fixed schedule and the fume hoods are utilized at unpredictable times and for varying lengths of time. For this reason. Inc. A simple CAV 1-Position system will waste too much energy during unoccupied periods and may cause too much ventilation related sound in large laboratories. but will probably not return as much energy savings as a VAV system. state. since the facilities are small. Also. provincial and local level. University Research Laboratories Large universities often have many smaller laboratories where research is conducted under contracts to private firms or under government grants. small colleges generally do not have high-level facility personnel who can maximize the potential of a sophisticated VAV system or ensure an LAF system is functioning properly. Document No. they are excellent applications for a CAV 2-Position type of system. A VAV or LAF system would probably not achieve sufficient additional energy savings to justify their higher cost.

VAV systems are well suited for research or product development activities and provide the best return when fume hood sashes can be kept closed for extended periods. If there are several such laboratory rooms. Activities vary from routine quality control testing to a good deal of product development and advanced research activities. The fume hood sizes can vary widely and some may be quite large or of a special design. and in nuclear related areas. However. medical. Because of these widely varying usage patterns coupled with government mandates to minimize energy usage. Page 6 of 10 Siemens Industry. Large Commercial and Industrial Firms Large business enterprises can have many laboratories and.980 . Document No. These labs tend to be very large facilities and often employ high level scientific personnel who conduct advanced research on space. biological.6. small firms use laboratories for quality control testing. The time and usage pattern of the labs can vary extensively. Government Research Government research laboratories include federally funded or federally sponsored research facilities. in some instances. LAF systems may be applicable for more routine type of laboratory operations. defense. Such facilities are well suited for LAF 2-Position systems or VAV systems depending upon the extent of the work hazard. which can be highly desirable for higher hazard laboratories. a LAF 2-Position type of system may be the most advantageous. An LAF 2-Position system may also be applicable. a CAV 2-Position system or a LAF system may be most appropriate. 8. 149. If the research work is very intensive. these applications are very well suited for VAV type systems. Table 2 provides a summary of the potential benefits and limitations of different laboratory ventilation systems. several laboratory buildings. but are more likely to also engage in product development experimentation and research. 7. Quality control laboratories normally conduct routine testing on a set daily schedule. Small/Mid-Sized Commercial and Industrial Firms Generally. more sophisticated control and monitoring systems associated with VAV allow greater operational flexibility along with automated data storage. Inc. Larger firms also do substantial quality control testing. A life cycle analysis may be needed to substantiate the most appropriate system. but only if the researchers can be expected to follow a rigid fume hood safety regimen.

Comparison of Ventilation System Characteristics. 149-980 Page 7 of 10 . Document No.2-Position    Lower ventilation related sound Significant reduction in energy consumption Not overly difficult to design and implement       VAV    Lower ventilation related sound Potential for lowest energy consumption Greatest usage flexibility 5     5 VAV Allows changing room ventilation and fume hood operational parameters as changes in laboratory usage occur. Relatively low first cost Good potential for energy reduction Not overly difficult to design and implement Modest impact on support personnel Lower ventilation related sound Reduced energy consumption at all times Not overly difficult to design and implement        Limitations High ventilation related sound Highest energy consumption High ventilation related sound during occupancy Requires fairly rigid occupancy schedule to achieve energy savings Requires somewhat knowledgeable support personnel High fume hood first cost May not comply with face velocity requirements of local (state or provincial) governing body Requires close monitoring to ensure proper functionality is maintained Requires knowledgeable support personnel High fume hood first cost May not comply with face velocity requirements of local (state or provincial) governing body More involved system design and implementation Requires fairly rigid lab occupancy schedule to maximize energy savings Requires close monitoring to ensure proper functionality Requires competent support personnel Increased first cost Requires sophisticated system design effort and implementation System requires close monitoring to ensure maximum benefit Requires higher level support personnel   LAF .1-Position    CAV . Ventilation System CAV .1-Position    Benefits Lowest first cost Easiest to design and implement Least impact on facility support personnel.Table 2. Inc.2-Position     LAF . Siemens Industry.

a particular type of system may still not be acceptable if the ventilation system's limitations (indicated in Table 2) are unacceptable.980 . it may not be the best solution for the intended application based upon other considerations. To estimate the energy cost associated with a particular type of ventilation system. 149. You should also consider the availability of a facility support staff that can ensure proper ventilation system operation and the achievement of the anticipated energy savings. More complicated systems (such as VAV) and more advanced equipment (such as LAF fume hoods) will incur additional costs to keep facility personnel trained on the operation.Life Cycle Cost Analysis As previously stated. 2. Determine each fume hood's average annual cubic feet per minute (cfm). It should also be emphasized that although a particular type of system may seem to provide the most advantageous life cycle cost. testing and monitoring of the systems and associated equipment. the training of facility operating personnel is a valid consideration. 3. Determine the annual energy cost by multiplying the total average annual laboratory cfm (from Step 2) by the facility's annual energy cost per cubic feet per minute. a key factor is the overall energy cost associated with each type of system over its useful life. Document No. Inc.S. determine the average annual cfm using the following steps: 1. If a general exhaust is present. This results in the total average annual laboratory cubic feet per minute. Page 8 of 10 Siemens Industry. Life Cycle Energy Cost When compiling a system's life cycle cost. If a laboratory room's general exhaust is present also determine the general exhaust average annual cfm by the procedure listed in Table 3. Total the fume hood average annual cfm for all fume hoods that will be served by the ventilation system. This typically ranges from $3 to $6 per cfm in the U. When determining a system's life cycle cost. also total each room's general exhaust average annual cfm and add it to the totalized fume hood average annual cubic feet per minute. These include lack of system flexibility and expandability. a life cycle cost analysis may be necessary to determine the most advantageous type of laboratory ventilation system in some situations. However.

M.E. System Type CAV – 1 & LAF . Laboratory Annual Cubic Feet per Minute. Step 5: Determine the average cfm by multiplying the fume hood's maximum exhaust cfm by the resultant of Step 4.1 Average Fume Hood & General Exhaust Cubic Feet per Minute (cfm) Calculation Procedure The average annual fume hood cfm is the normal constant fume hood exhaust cfm. cfm × Occ Hrs/Wk + Unocc G. Step 4: Add the two percentages from Steps 1 and 3. Step 5: Determine the average cfm by multiplying the fume hood's maximum exhaust cfm by the resultant of Step 4.Table 3. (For a VAV system this typically ranges from 10% to 20%.2 Step 3: Determine the unoccupied cfm percentage by multiplying the resultant from Step 2 by 20%. Inc. weekdays this typically is about 33%. The average annual general exhaust usage is determined by the following expression: [Occ G. The average annual general exhaust cfm is determined from the following expression: [Average Occ G. Step 3: Determine the unoccupied cfm percentage by multiplying the result from Step 2 by 20%. Document No. Siemens Industry. to 5 P.E.) Step 2: Determine the laboratory weekly unoccupancy percentage by subtracting the resultant of Step 1 from 100%. (For 8 A.E. cfm × Unocc Hrs/Wk]  168 Step 1: Determine the normal laboratory fume hood usage time percentage by dividing the likely actual weekly usage hours by 168.E.M. 149-980 Page 9 of 10 . cfm × Occ Hrs/Wk + Average Unocc G. The average annual general exhaust cfm is the normal constant general exhaust cfm. which represents the allowable minimum fume hood exhaust airflow. which represents the minimum fume hood exhaust airflow. Step 4: Add the two percentages from Steps 1 and 3. CAV – 2 & LAF . cfm × Unocc Hrs/Wk]  168 VAV 6 The weekly occupied hours are the total of each day's regular occupancy hours plus the additional daily occupied hours for transitioning into and out of the unoccupied period (typically 2 hours per day).) Step 2: Determine the laboratory fume hood non-usage time percentage by subtracting the resultant from Step 1 from 100%. Step 1: Determine the laboratory's weekly occupancy percentage by dividing the normal Occupied Hrs/Wk6 by 168.

select equipment with part-load operation and variable conditions in mind. Be sure to right-size equipment and not oversize central heating and cooling equipment. If only certain rooms require tight operational parameters. they should be sized in incremental modules that will activate singly or in tandem to meet variable loads while operating at maximum efficiencies. For instance. they should be on a separate HVAC system. Inc. maintaining unnecessarily narrow operating ranges for relative humidity results in consuming large amount of energy due to extra cooling and reheating. Normally a life cycle cost should cover at least 10 years and oftentimes a few years longer. Therefore. IL 60089-4513 USA Printed in the USA Document No. This yields an overall VAV diversity factor of approximately 50%. use the exhaust airflow from offices as part of the supply airflow for the laboratories. A constant air volume (CAV) system will usually provide the optimum expenditure based upon a 2 to 4-year life cycle. Two chillers of unequal size can provide more flexibility in matching variable loads than one large one or two equal sized units. Consider designing the ventilation system with slightly oversized ducts that can reduce pressure drops as well as efficiently handle future needs. Product or company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.Life Cycle Cost The annual energy cost along with the respective ventilation system's initial cost. and other operating factors are then used in determining the life cycle cost for the ventilation systems being compared. Studies and practical experience have shown that in large laboratories with many fume hoods. Rather than having one or two large chillers. maintenance costs. training costs. © 2009 Siemens Industry. Siemens Industry. When feasible. A VAV system will likely have the lowest lifecycle cost based upon 5 or more years. 149-980 Page 10 of 10 . Inc. Note that ventilation system operating factors can have a substantial effect on annual energy usage. Building Technologies Division 1000 Deerfield Parkway Buffalo Grove. Air duct sizing is important in that ducts should be designed for low-pressure drops. about 30% to 70% of the hoods are either closed or only partially used at any time.