formance and the integrity of a critical
environment airflow control system: the
absence of energy savings, loss of flexibility
and reduced pressurization control.
1. Reduced energy? The owner installs
a system and expects to see reduced energy
usage, but doesn’t see any significant savings.
Laboratory fume hoods are energy-intensive.
The typical fume hood consumes 3. 5 times
as much energy as a home. Often when new
systems are installed that are designed to be
simple, the result is reduced intelligence. In
other words, the software and overall system
are not proactively identifying issues in order
for the user to make course corrections. The
problem is not identified on the front end;
therefore, changes are never made to reap
the benefits of reduced energy. Overall cost
savings are sacrificed.
2. Limited control, lost flexibility.
The owner installs a system and saves some
energy but not at the level they were expecting. They also don’t have the tools needed
to do more in the future. Limiting the control system at first design can be shortsight-ed because the loss in return and flexibility
in the future that a high-performance system can offer can be significant. Buildings
are designed to last over 100 years. A control system that can provide digital data to
key metrics and trends at a local level or
equipment level provides better operational
direction for the life of the building. That is
the expectation with any system built today,
even more so for a high-performance, state-of-the-art research building.
Evolution of airflow control
continued from page 1
3. Compromised pressurization control.
In most labs, rooms need to be negatively
pressurized. Managers of critical spaces can
lose laboratory pressure control when they
are not responding to crucial activities within
the system, such as fume hood sash position
and the opening of doors, as well as pressure
changes in adjacent spaces. To combat these
concerns, the airflow control system must
be highly accurate, stable and responsive to
changes in the laboratory. Facility managers
need a system that provides the information
to identify causes for alarms and other abnormal conditions. This can be done with highly
sophisticated and accurate airflow control
and room pressurization, ensuring safety is
not being compromised.
These issues often arise after installation
is complete and the system is running,
requiring building owners to settle for a
system that is “good enough.” The overall
result? Diminished efficiency and credibility of the facility design.
SACRIFICING SMART DATA FOR
For facility managers of critical spaces, juggling multiple interfaces can be over whelming and confusing. In order to increase operational and energy efficiency, facility managers
often turn to simplistic methods that compromise the quality of the overall system in
order to maintain safety. Of course, creating
the safest possible laboratory environment is
the goal. But at what cost?
Basic systems, which may appear to
be easy to manage, force users to forego
important safety components that are
critical for ventilation controls for labora-
tories. For example, speed of response (the
amount of time it takes to react to an action
or change in pressure), accuracy (precision
of flow) and stability (mechanical pressure
independence, which is the action of stabi-
lizing an inherently fluctuating pressure to
reduce inaccuracies or time delays) are often
relinquished because the air measurement
system is simply too unsophisticated to
deliver the more comprehensive suite of data
needed to safely provide peak efficiency.
However, new technology and integrated
solutions have begun to enable managers to
immediately take action and reduce utility
costs without any impact on the accuracy,
repeatability or stability of the flow control.
CONTROL WITHOUT COMPROMISE
Facility managers want to make low-risk,
cost-effective investments when it comes to
airflow controls. Because the perceptions
that these systems are intimidating and
costly to maintain, facility managers may
have to do without critical data and settle for
systems that lack information about the performance of existing equipment. As a result,
they miss out on crucial opportunities.
Laboratories require airflow control to
ensure proper protection of the user as well
as overall airflow balance within the laboratory environment. For the first time in the
industry, controls that complement existing
building management systems are available
to provide facility managers the information they need to identify energy waste or
potentially unsafe conditions. Most building
management systems are limited in monitoring at the in-depth level. Therefore, new
technology has enabled a system that is customizable, and produces actionable data that
is presented in an easy-to-interpret format.
Live data from precision
controls is used to identify
causes for alarms and other
abnormal conditions. For
example, such controls can
calculate the air change
rate in a critical space and
identify the causes affecting
the rate such as fume hood
demand, poor air quality or
The perception is that
the set-up, modification
and maintenance of
these more sophisticated
controls often requires
trained personnel, which
in turn increases the cost.
Automation and con-
trols can be the biggest
challenges for managers An example of hood usage as it pertains to dollars per year to use the hood.
Hood Wasted Flo w Hood Flow Sash Open Percent
Tuesday, Apr 05, 12:04
Hood Occupancy: Unoccupied
day week month year
10:45 11:00 11: 15 11:30 11:45 12:00 12: 15 12:30 12:45
10:45 11:00 11: 15 11:30 11:45 12:00 12: 15 12:30 12:45