Balancing Air Quality and Energy Efficiency In Laboratory Settings

Sandra Dedesko, RWDI

Energy efficiency and indoor air quality both warrant consideration and attention in the built environment. Laboratories are an interesting setting, as they contain equipment, chemicals, and analysis techniques that create the potential for increases in indoor air contaminants if not properly managed. To prevent such contamination, isolation and dedicated exhaust are traditionally implemented, which often results in increased energy consumption from ventilation equipment and makeup air conditioning. Recently, RWDI has worked with laboratory operators looking to improve their facility's energy consumption via pollutant monitoring and dynamic ventilation rates. The first part of this proposed presentation provides an overview of indoor air quality considerations and an analysis of the impacts on indoor air pollutant concentrations using a mass balance approach. The second part focuses on a recent RWDI case study, where the laboratory pollutant monitoring system and dynamic ventilation approach are discussed. This case study includes a detailed discussion of the target pollutants that were measured in addition to the measurement technique, as well as an analysis on the variations in exhaust rates that were achieved and the resulting energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the importance of indoor air quality and energy efficiency in the built environment;
  • Analyze the impact of ventilation on energy consumption and indoor air quality;
  • Investigate the opportunities to control ventilation through contaminant measurements; and
  • Analyze the energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from dynamic ventilation.


Sandra specializes in high-performance buildings that promote occupant health and environmental sustainability. Sandra has international research and consulting experience in this area and is passionate about applying research insights to her professional work. She is also involved in developing and delivering education through the University of Toronto, the CaGBC, and the IWBI.


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