Conserve Energy and Improve IAQ In Hospital Laboratories

Hospital laboratories can improve their energy efficiency by using fume hoods.

Hospital Laboratories can improve their energy efficiency by using fume hoods.

Hospital laboratories are a major factor in energy and water waste within hospitals. This is due to the fact they need a significant amount of environmental control measures in place, including sophisticated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. When implementing ways to improve their labs’ energy efficiency, there are a variety of ways hospitals can reduce energy costs. One of the most effective methods is installing fume hoods to enhance energy conservation, according to Healthcare Design.

In a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, approximately 3,040 of large hospital buildings total 1.96 billion square feet of floorspace​, with an average of 644,300 square feet per building in 2007. Considering this vast amount of floorspace is estimated to hold a total of 3.3 million employees, hospitals use a huge amount of energy to create a comfortable environment for staff and patients using HVAC systems.

“All buildings had air conditioning and nearly all, 92 percent, used electricity to power air conditioning equipment,” the EIA said in its report. “Water heating was also used in all buildings and had fuel use percentages similar to space heating: 74 percent used natural gas and 18 percent used district heat.”

How to use fume hoods correctly in hospital settings
When operating fume hoods to improve the effectiveness of HVAC systems, ensure they are being used correctly. Hospital workers can maintain air exchange needs by shutting the hood sash to improve fume hood functionality. In addition to enhancing energy conservation for hospital labs, fume hoods can also extract chemicals. Ductless fume hood and hoods equipped with an advanced molecular carbon filter can absorb chemicals. Through the proper use of fume hoods and ductless fume hoods, hospitals can lower their energy costs and improve their indoor air quality.

One hospital that makes sure to educate its users on fume hoods is Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y.

“Hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials must be controlled to protect the health and safety of the Hospital community,” Stony Brook said about its procedures for using chemical fume hoods. “In order to prevent inhalation of vapors, gases and aerosols, the contaminants must be captured, contained and removed by the use of hoods.”

Stony Brook recommends that users should ensure their work station is clean before using the fume hood to avoid blocking airflow to slots.

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