A 2022 CU Green Labs Fume Hood Sash Contest: Impact on User Behavior, Safety, and Energy Savings at the JSCBB at CU Boulder

Ziyu Li, CU Boulder

Closing sashes on variable air volume (VAV) fume hoods is known to benefit energy savings and lab member safety. The CU Green Labs Program has been contributing to fume hood sash management at the University of Colorado Boulder campus since the program's inception in 2009. Due to the COVID pandemic, CU Green Labs has been unable to conduct its efforts to engage lab occupants to close sashes since early 2020; however, we are working on starting those efforts again.

In collaboration with campus mechanical engineering, and utilizing the enhanced capabilities for measurement of ventilation in JSCBB, we are implementing a three-week contest to engage lab members to close sashes in the Jennifer Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building (JSCBB). Data on sash height and building ventilation will be collected before, during, and after the contest and analyzed for contest effectiveness on behavior change and energy savings. Furthermore, we are evaluating cost-efficient methods for ongoing sash management.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about strategies CU Green Labs uses to implement a building-wide contest on lab user behavior change regarding sash closures;
  • Learn about the effectiveness of this contest on sash height changes, energy consumption and safety;
  • Learn about the incorporation of safety in this contest including the use of posters on fume hood safety that could be beneficial for other research campuses; and
  • Learn about plans being explored for continuous fume hood sash monitoring and management.


Ziyu Li is a second year graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder studying Applied Mathematics. She has been working with the CU Green Labs program as a student assistant for six years where she worked on reducing solid waste production and energy consumption in labs, as well as engaging scientists across campus.


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