Fume hoods at UBC consume up to 10 per cent of campus energy due to the large volume of air that needs to be heated or cooled and moved through the hoods.
WHAT IS SHUT THE SASH?
A six-week competition to save energy through one simple action—closing laboratory fume hoods.
HOW CAN I SAVE THE MOST? IT’S SIMPLE:
- Finished an experiment? Shut the Sash!
- Taking a break? Shut the Sash!
- Leaving for the day? Shut the Sash!
- Last person out? Check that all sashes are closed.
- Remind your lab mates to Shut the Sash!
HOW CAN WE WIN?
There are two ways for your lab to win:
- Most Improved: The lab with the biggest improvement in sash best practices during the competition compared to baseline wins the prize.
- Lowest average sash height: To win this category your lab will have achieved the lowest average exhaust rates over the competition period.
Please adhere to safe lab protocols; teams engaging in unsafe practices to minimize fume hood usage will result in the team being disqualified from the competition.
Teams that tamper with other lab’s fume hoods (ex. open them without permission), or otherwise compromise their chance of winning, will also be disqualified.
HOW WILL YOU DETERMINE THE WINNER?
Green Labs tracks fume hoods through the building management system (BMS) to establish baseline use patterns*. Specifically, we look at the exhaust rate for each fume hood which changes in proportion to the height of the sash. In other words, the lower the sash, the less air that is exhausted. We will continue to collect this data throughout the competition and compare it to baseline patterns.
Lab fume hood use summaries and ranking will be shared periodically for each lab*. Random spot checks may be conducted.
* Use patterns and tracking are available in a lot of our lab spaces through the BMS, not all spaces and fume hoods have measurable data points and systems. Additionally, due to HVAC mechanical system designs not all fume hood exhaust systems save energy when the sash is closed, it is still safer to keep the sash closed when not working in the hood. Closing the sash promotes safe and sustainable practices to carry with you to new lab environments.
WHAT IF MY EXPERIMENT HAS CORDS OR TUBES?
Some experiments involve power cords or tubing that prevents full closure of the sash. In most cases, if sashes are closed to the cord/tube, your participation will not be significantly impacted.
HOW DOES SHUTTING THE SASH SAVE ENERGY?
Variable air volume (VAV) fume hoods are designed to maintain a constant face velocity across the sash opening. Sash position is connected to the building’s HVAC system so that the fan speed and the volume of air are reduced when the sash is lowered.
VAV fume hoods are mostly found in newer labs at UBC that have been recently constructed or renovated. While typically only labs with VAV fume hoods have been invited to participate in Shut the Sash, it’s best practice for all fume hood users to lower the sash when not in use and promote safe and sustainable lab practices.
IS IT SAFE TO SHUT THE SASH?
The sash is an important safety barrier between the fume hood interior and the laboratory, protecting the lab user. Sashes should be opened only to set up or modify an experiment. At all other times, shutting the sash is safest. When the sash is shut there is still some air flow through the hood to remove any fumes.
WHEN SHOULD I SHUT THE SASH?
Shut the sash whenever you are not actively working in the fume hood. Remind yourself to shut the sash every time you walk away from the hood.
WHAT OTHER FUME HOOD PRACTICES CAN REDUCE MY ENERGY CONSUMPTION?
First of all, never use a fume hood just for storing chemicals – they belong in a safety cabinet, which doesn’t use huge volumes of air. If your fume hood has an occupancy switch, turn it off when not in use. If your group is no longer using a specific fume hood, consider having it locked and de-commissioned so air no longer flows through it.
You can check out an interactive fume hood energy calculator here: http://fumehoodcalculator.lbl.gov/
How can I get involved?
Interested in organizing a competition in your department? Contact us at email@example.com.
Learn about other energy conservation opportunities in labs.