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Controlled Environment Rooms - Energy Saving Strategies and Designs

Tom Oelschlaeger, Climate Technologies, Inc.

Controlled environment rooms—in the form of cold rooms, warm rooms, and other specialty chambers—are prevalent throughout life science laboratories. The energy consumption, especially the efficiency, of this equipment has not received the scrutiny that other laboratory equipment and building systems have in recent years. Since these rooms constitute a portion of the building that is heated, cooled, humidified, or dehumidified by systems other than the building mechanical system, their impact on total building energy consumption is notable, at the very least.

The presentation will provide a description and illustration of the potential energy consumption impact of controlled environment rooms and explore the causes of the current state of energy efficiency of this equipment. Strategies that can be employed to reduce the energy consumption of controlled environment rooms will be presented. Potential design solutions and product features with varying complexity and impact will be summarized.


Tom Oelschlaeger has been employed in the controlled environment room industry for over 25 years. His positions have ranged from sales to mechanical and control system design, programming, and engineering. He is currently vice president of Climate Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of controlled environment rooms.

Mr. Oelschlaeger's professional affiliations include membership in ASHRAE; Air-Conditioning Engineers; the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society; and the Green Building Institute.

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