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Automatic Sash Positioning - A Case Study

James Wood, Wyeth Research

Wyeth Research in Princeton installed two automatic hood sash positioners approximately eight months ago as a test case and pilot for future installations.

Prior to these installations, we have encouraged users to keep their sashes closed, set our operational sash height at 18 inches to reduce energy usage, and trended the usage on the test hoods with our building automation system to provide a baseline for comparison of this data.

We have had an opportunity to look at the results of these installations, including:

  • User acceptance of these devices
  • Energy savings realized
  • Verification of the operation of the devices in the real world
  • Projected impacts on physical plant capacity

We are prepared to describe the lessons we have learned and show the savings compared to use without the positioners.

Labs21 Connection:

After limited success with hood sash programs encouraging researchers to close their hood sashes, the automatic positioners provide the results needed to reduce energy use, by closing sashes when the investigator is not working in the hood.

Equally as important as the energy benefits are the safety benefits. The sash safety eye will stop the hood from closing if it encounters an object within the path of the sash.

Noteworthy is the fact that the sash height can be easily manually adjusted once the sash has been raised by the sash positioner. From the perspective of user acceptance of this device, we felt that the ease of this activity would be critical.

On a more general level, with the installation of these devices on a larger scale, we will begin to operate our system very close to the sum of the minimum exhaust volumes of our fume hoods. We anticipate:

  • Improved safety associated with closed hoods
  • Reduced energy consumption associated with reduced exhaust volumes
  • Reduction in demand on the physical plant infrastructure


James Wood graduated from Kean University with a B.S. degree in Industrial Technology, after serving in the U.S. Army. He holds steam and refrigeration licenses to operate high-pressure steam systems or refrigeration systems of any horsepower or tonnage respectively. He was Assistant Director of Maintenance at St. Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey before joining Wyeth as Chief Engineer at the Wyeth Princeton site. Presently James is Director of Plant Operations, responsible for maintenance, utilities and energy, and laboratory and infrastructure renovation and construction projects. He was Wyeth's Energy Manager of the Year in 2003. He is an Association of Energy Engineers Certified Energy Manager and a member of the International Facility Management Association.

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