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Designing a Green Lab without Sacrificing Safety

Chris Robertson, Phoenix Controls Corporation


HVAC system designers are considering the use of low flow fumehoods on an increasing number of laboratories today. The desire to take advantage of the benefits of low flow constant volume can very easily distract a designer from the most important goal of a laboratory: SAFETY.

A recent trend in the fumehood industry is to use the ASHRAE 110 Standard in a way it was never intended. Hoods are being tested using 110 to determine the lowest possible face velocity at which they will "pass", discarding the fact that the most critical moment for containment is when it is challenged by an occupant. This misuse of the standard is creating unsafe situations.

Another threat to safety arises out of the use of hoods with restricted sash openings. This refers to hoods that incorporate sash stops located much lower than the traditional 18" height. These impractical sash stops are much more likely to be overridden and can result in face velocities significantly less than 40 FPM with a fully opened sash, a scenario for which higher face velocities are logical.

Saving energy in laboratories is an important goal, but it must not sacrifice the primary goal of creating a safe environment. This presentation will present several control approaches that will help maximum energy savings while not compromising safety.


Christopher S. Robertson, Phoenix Controls Corporation, is the Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Marketing responsible for the companies' worldwide sales & marketing operations. Prior to assuming this responsibility he spent two years in Japan where he was the Director of Asia/Pacific in charge of developing and running the company's business unit throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. He has also serviced as the Manager, Laboratory and Heath Care Markets, responsible for overall direction, development, and implementation of strategies and products directed towards the laboratory and health care markets worldwide. He has been a featured speaker on airflow control issues at many national and international conferences and seminars. He is a Member of ASHRAE and is active on Laboratory Committee TC 9.10, Clean Spaces Committee TC 9.11 and Standards Committee SPC 110 (Testing Performance of Laboratory Fume Hoods)

His background includes eight years with Phoenix Controls in various sales and marketing roles and ten years with Johnson Controls as an Applications Engineer, Sales Engineer and Sales Manager. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University.

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