Sustainable lab equipment:
What’s new, what’s possible
continued from page 3
right equipment. Select fume hoods primarily to capture, contain and exhaust or
filter chemical fumes and vapors; select
a B2 BSC for procedures that require the
use of hazardous chemicals that vaporize,
as an adjunct to microbiological work.
Other energy-saving strategies for BSCs
include using direct current (DC) or variable frequency drive motors, which are
more efficient than standard motors (see
sidebar). In addition, turn off fan blowers when they’re not in use, use the night
mode for fans, close the sash as much as
possible, use ultraviolet lights only for
specific decontamination (don’t leave them
on constantly) and use HEPA filters rather
than ULPA filters when possible, as higher
filtration requires more energy.
WASHING AND STERILIZING EQUIPMENT
New glassware washers and dryers are
being built with a number of energy- and
water-conservation features. The latest
equipment has hydraulics designed to maximize water flow and pressure, faster overall
cycle times, double-insulated chambers
for optimum heat (and noise) absorption,
wash programs specifically designed for different lab applications—such as inorganic
and organic substances—and water intake
monitoring that adjusts water usage based
on load size. Plus, an option is available to
re-use the final rinse water as wash water for
the next load. Other options include: steam
supply for faster heating; a water-cooled
condenser for reduced room temperature
and humidity; rapid air injector drying; and
delay start, for areas with less expensive off-peak energy. Manufacturers are also offering detergents that require minimal rinsing.
For cage and rack washers, wide-cover-age oscillating arm technology provides
higher washing efficiency, and a microbiologically validated cycle increases throughput. Water can be recycled using four
cleaning stages, with the cleanest water
used only for the final rinsing stage (a system called counter-current rinsing). Heat
recovery, vented vapor removal, closed-loop effluent cooling and cleaning solution
re-use systems are additional water- and
Sterilizers and autoclaves can be equipped
with water-conservation systems that reduce
potable water consumption by over 50% by
collecting autoclave drainage into a reservoir
The annual cost of energy and exhaust. Image: SmithGroup JJR
Energy consumption data of sterilizing systems. Image: Resources Cambridge
ADDITIONAL ENERGY-SAVING STRATEGIES FOR BSCS:
Direct Current (DC) Motors:
• More efficient than AC motors.
• Magnetic field creates rotation.
DC Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM):
• 50% more efficient than original AC motors and last approximately three times longer.
• The cooler operation of the ECM minimizes the rise in air temperature in the working environment
of the BSC.
Variable Frequency Drive – Three-Phase AC Variable Frequency Design Motor/Controller:
• Provides a reduction or elimination of motor starters.
• Less stress on AC motor windings and bearings.
• Increased lifespan.