Upgrading ventilation and controls systems for the University of Reading’s chemistry teaching lab fume cupboards has returned major energy savings, hand-in-hand with safer, more comfortable working environments.
The project is saving £90,000 and 343 tCO2 annually, with a payback of just 2.8 years! This success has kick-started an estate-wide review of its 300+ fume cupboards.
New, intelligent controls continuously optimise ventilation to 44 fume cupboards and chemical storage cabinets. This achieves major savings in both electricity (55% saving) and heating (77% saving). As a result, the labs are now a more comfortable temperature for staff and students, and less turbulent air makes for a more stable environment too.
The project included a competition to design an interactive energy display, with the winning design now built and installed. This provides a simple, striking visualisation of real-time energy use; encouraging continued good user practice to complement savings achieved from the high efficiency kit.
1 Continuously running fume cupboards can cost as much as £3,000/year each
2 Technical improvements can achieve good savings; but engaging users to establish good practice remains an essential part
3 Unexpected knock-on benefit of much warmer laboratories has been a great engagement benefit with staff and students.