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High-Performance Fume Hoods: The Answer to Your Needs or a Silver Bullet?

Diane Kase and Wade Conlan, X-nth (formerly Earl Walls Associates)

Fume hood manufacturers market their high-performance hoods as being able to provide up to 60 percent energy consumption savings over standard fume hoods. Many facilities use this type of hood believing they will reap these "potential savings." Are these facilities really getting their return? Should they be using high-performance hoods or standard hoods? Since there are multiple factors that influence the fume hood selection for a specific project, each should be evaluated for its particular application.

This poster will explore those factors in order to help facilities determine if a high-performance hood truly is a value-added item or just an expensive piece of furniture. Our analysis touches on the type of science, fume hood density, module width, laboratory operation schedule, first costs versus operational costs, and the fume hood exhaust system design (CV or VAV). The poster will show a brief history of fume hood trends leading up to and including the high-performance hoods in order to fully discuss the hood selection factors. And finally, examine case studies from our experience to show the optimum application of high-performance hoods.


Diane Kase is a project manager at X-nth (formerly Earl Walls Associates) located in San Diego, California, and is a 1989 graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design.

With the company since 1989, Diane has served in the capacities of laboratory designer, project coordinator, and now is project manager. She is a focused, thorough project manager and an innovative designer with extensive experience on various laboratory projects for academic and institutional research, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical.

Diane presented "It’s Not Easy Being Platinum" at the Labs21 2006 Annual Conference.

Wade Conlan is the director of engineering at X-nth located in Maitland, Florida, and is a 1995 graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering.

His project engineering experience includes complex systems for laboratories, hospitals, educational facilities, and others. His responsibilities include applying all aspects of HVAC and laboratory plumbing engineering to projects as well as leading in-house staff development training. Based upon his extensive energy conservation related experience, he is the co-leader of GRG’s Sustainable Design Group. Wade is the ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.10-Laboratories Standards Sub-Committee Chair leading the group to help revise codes and standards to reflect the needs and actual designs of laboratories.

Wade presented "Energy Conservation in Bio-Containment Facilities" at the Labs21 2006 Annual Conference and the "Weighing the Pig vs. Making it Fly" at the Labs21 2005 Annual Conference. Wade has presented for many other associations, including “Retro-Commissioning: Is this the next “big thing” in our industry? Concrete Results from the Field” for the BCA Webcast in 2005, as well as for the American Aquarium and Zoological Association regarding commissioning and HVAC design. ASHRAE awarded Wade the society level Milton W. Garland Refrigeration Award for Project Excellence in 2004 in addition to Region XII Technical Project Awards. Wade was also named the Central Florida Chapter’s Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2004.

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