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.

Hospital laboratories and medical facility news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

How to Plan and Optimize Industrial Energy Efficiency

While some companies want to focus on increasing the efficiency of their production processes to get products to customers sooner, they may also want to look at boosting their energy efficiency. Incorporating energy management programs can help industrial facilities conserve energy and raise their level of productivity, according to a report by the SEE Action Network and the Institute for Industrial Productivity. As more companies aim to save energy, they could look into air filtration systems that will improve air flow within buildings to increase energy efficiency.

Amelie Goldberg, North America program manager at the Institute for Industrial Productivity, said industrial facilities and ratepayers can greatly reduce energy expenses through energy management programs.

“There’s no question that industry’s participation in energy-saving efforts is also helping eliminate or delay the need to build more expensive power generation, transmission and distribution capacity,” Goldberg said in a statement. “In turn, this means the programs are facilitating efforts to cut the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. It’s a win-win situation for all.”

Energy-efficient buildings can save up to 35 percent more energy than standard buildings, according to the federally backed Energy Star program. There are more than 5,000 organizations that participate in the program, including the top 10 largest U.S. health care organizations, colleges and universities and major businesses like Ford and Pepsi Co.

How to establish an energy efficiency plan

​Goldberg, who is also lead author of the report by the SEE Action Network and the Institute for Industrial Productivity, said companies need to start with an energy management plan to achieve high energy savings.

“Our research shows that the keys to success are making a sizeable commitment over a number of years, and ensuring there are strong strategic energy management programs in place in firms,” Goldberg said. “The energy savings achieved warrant the effort – they go well beyond those made by individual firms as part of their own energy efficiency initiative.”

Companies can take the recommended steps listed by Energy Star’s website to boost their energy efficiency:

  • Ensure you’re dedicated to saving energy
  • Determine your current energy performance and establish goals
  • Develop an action plan to increase energy efficiency
  • Enact the action plan to conserve energy and boost productivity
  • Monitor your progress
  • Celebrate your success

After going through the last few steps, companies should also reassess their progress to see how they can improve their energy efficiency. Companies could consider implementing tools like air filtration systems to optimize air flow and increase performance for heating and cooling systems.

Industrial and manufacturing news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.