achieving progress in one goal—for example, lowering lab energy use—
requires the sacrifice of another goal—for example, maintaining safe
lab environments. How can this seemingly irreconcilable argument be
resolved? Get more data. Lab energy monitoring systems can also be
used to provide data that helps drive informed decision making around
lab air change rates.
Labs can be instrumented to detect airborne contaminants in lab
spaces, and this data can be used to improve the controls of the lab
ventilation system and provide 24/7 information about lab air quality
to environmental health and safety (EH&S) personnel. Utilizing this
data, facility managers now can team up with EH&S departments to
both lower energy consumption and improve the confidence about the
safety of lab environments. Figure 3 illustrates how detection of airborne
contaminants can be used to implement a demand-based ventilation
strategy that optimizes airflow based on actual lab conditions.
Maintaining energy savings entitlement
So now a lab has implemented a few energy strategies. The lab
improved its lighting occupancy controls; replaced some really old
freezers with a single high-efficiency unit; and perhaps implemented
some demand-based ventilation controls—the lab even held a “shut
your sash” campaign. So how do lab owners know that effort has paid
off? More importantly, will these measures continue to work over time?
Now that the celebration pizza party has been held for the winning
department, will everyone still be as diligent about managing their fume
hood sashes? Just ask the energy monitoring system.
A simple check of a labs’ energy consumption “speedometer” (Figure 4)
can tell if it’s still achieving the same level of energy savings as when these
measures were first implemented.
In many ways, a good lab energy monitoring tool is like a good GPS
application. Lab energy monitoring systems help lab users understand where
they are by showing them current energy use and energy use over time so
they can identify true energy drivers within their labs. This helps plot a path
to a lower energy destination, and users can continue to use monitoring
to measure their progress and improve their program execution. And, as
most know, an effective energy management plan is more of a journey than
Figure 4: This flow reduction dial shows if savings are achieved. Figure 3: Graphing data showing IEQ event detection and dynamic airflow adjustment.
• Noise levels down to
<5p Trms/3Hz at 1Hz
• Measuring ranges of
±60μ T or ±100μ T
• Bandwidth up to 3kHz
• Data acquisition
Magnetic Field Instrumentation
• 500mm and 1m
• Field generated up to
500μ T (at DC) and up
to 5kHz (at 100μ T) for
500mm coil system
• Power Amplifer and
Control Unit available
• Control via PXI system
a destination, so energy monitoring tools will play an important
ongoing role for the entire lifecycle of that lab facility.
— Chuck McKinney
VP, Strategic Accounts
Aircuity Inc., Newton, Mass.