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Laboratory Ventilation and Fume Hood Design Considerations for Academia

Gary C. Shaver, MSPH, CIH, UNC Chapel Hill


The fume hood is recognized as the largest single source of building energy consumption on campus. On average, laboratory facilities use 2 to 3 times the power required for the typical classroom or office building. Besides energy, hood reliability and safety are critical concerns due to the limitations on building maintenance, repair and upgrading resources. Further, academic laboratory buildings are kept in service in excess of 75 years, so the initial building ventilation design is critical. UNC is on the brink of several large-scale laboratory construction projects. Decisions now will have major impacts in the future.

To address energy, ventilation system reliability and safety, two low flow (~50 fpm face velocity), high performance hoods were considered; the Lab Crafters' Air Sentry and the Fisher Hamilton Pioneer hoods. Both hoods were studied for ergonomics and general ease of use. The combination sash and increased hood depth are new features for the campus laboratories. Data from the ASHRAE hood testing protocol provide the benchmark for hood safety performance comparison. Finally, integration of these hoods into an overall building energy management system with variable air volume control was reviewed.


Gary Shaver has a BS in biology from Wheaton College and an MSPH in industrial hygiene from UNC-Chapel Hill. As an industrial hygienist, he has worked in the environmental, health and safety field for 22 years, both in the University setting and General Industry.

Gary is currently employed by UNC-Chapel Hill in the EHS Department focusing specifically on design planning and implementation for new construction and renovation of campus buildings.

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