Impact of Fume Hood Retrofits on the Energy Performance of Laboratory Spaces

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Virginia Tech. Myers Lawson School of Construction

There are probably more than a million fume hoods operated in laboratories throughout the United States. Most of these fume hoods still run under more or less continuous conditions and thus consume an enormous amount of energy per year. There seems to be a significant savings potential if the total exhausted volumes could be reduced while all safety requirements are met. Researchers have meanwhile developed and identified high-performance fume hood solutions that could facilitate a reduction of up to 75% of the consumed energy required to condition make-up air. However, most of these solutions are geared towards new construction as they require specific spatial and system design configurations. There is a lack of knowledge regarding retrofit options and their expected savings potential on energy consumption for existing laboratories. Since fume hoods interact with other systems and fulfill design requirements that are already in place, any modification will consequently impact other performance requirements within the same environment. This project set out to gain a broader understanding of direct and indirect impacts of various retrofit scenarios for individual fume hoods, their integrated function within a laboratory space, and their overall impact on energy consumption of a space.