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Continuing Advancements In Air-To-Air Energy Recovery In Labs

Keith Cockerham, PE, CUH2A, Inc.


With the recent spikes in the cost of energy, air-to-air energy recovery is becoming a given in new laboratory design today. Owners today are looking to energy recovery systems to be energy efficient, but also simple and reliable.

In this session, you will learn how to take advantage of recent advancements in air-to-air energy recovery systems in laboratories that will give you the insight to bring your cost and energy usage down. The presentation will discuss effectively meeting the energy recovery requirement within ASHRAE standard 90.1 - 1999 now adopted as code in many states. Basic design applications and recent improvements for heat pipes, run around coils, and the appropriateness of heat wheels will be presented, along with current data on capital and operating costs. Also, practical suggestions to save about 40% more energy during summer peak conditions with Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IDEC) enhancement on the heat pipe will be reviewed, as well as retrofit potential for refrigerant run-around systems or split heat pipes.

A case study will be shown to demonstrate the appropriate use of a heat wheel in a laboratory system, including a discussion of how to perform a cross contamination analysis.


We will review the options for energy recovery including the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems, as well as a practical update of current engineering and safety issues. We will examine the options of energy recovery within various specialty laboratories. With owners today insisting on highly efficient energy recovery systems, it is even more critical to achieve system reliability and simplicity.

Labs21 Connection:

Laboratory systems use far more energy than systems for other areas of a building, and the HVAC system consistently requires the largest portion of energy; air-to-air energy recovery can be the largest potential energy saver. Taken as part of a "whole building" approach, air-to-air energy recovery is an advanced energy efficient technology that is evolving and improving.


Keith Cockerham, PE, has nineteen years of experience in HVAC engineering, and has been with CUH2A from 1986 through 1989, returning in 2002. Keith's experience includes all phases of engineering including mechanical systems design and engineering management for all building types. As a Project Manager, Keith also brings LEED™ 2.0 Certification - he is an accredited professional by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. An active member of many professional organizations, including the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) where he has attained his Certificate in Energy Management (CEM) in 1995, the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) where he served as president of his local chapter last year. Keith is a 1982 graduate of Union College with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He also received an MBA in Business Administration from Rider University in 1995.

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