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.

Seven labs in Chemistry D and E buildings competed over six weeks to determine who could save the most energy by shutting fume hood sashes when not in use. The competition was held from November 8 – December 19, 2021, and energy used by fume hoods was monitored throughout the competition.

“Labs are some of the most resource-intensive spaces in any industry due to their energy-intensive equipment, often around-the-clock operations, and high airflow rates,” Bud Fraser, Senior Planning and Sustainability Engineer explains. “The Shut the Sash competition saves energy and advances the university’s sustainability and Climate Action Plan goals by engaging researchers in safe and sustainable fume hood practices.”

Over the competition, an estimated 98,000 kWh of energy was saved across participating labs. Replicating these practices across all variable air volume (VAV) fume hoods at UBC Vancouver, would result in an estimated $29,800 in annual savings. 

“UBC’s emphasis on cutting-edge research and innovation means the Green Labs Program is uniquely positioned to advance UBC’s sustainability leadership by promoting the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility in labs,” says John Madden, Director of Sustainability & Engineering.

“The program supports students and researchers to be agents of change, making positive changes to their work and creating a culture of sustainability in the lab and beyond.”

Two lucky lab teams were the winners of the 2021 competition. Congratulations to the Borduas-Dedekind and Mehr Labs for winning the prizes in the categories of Time Open and Most Improved for shutting the sash.

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