Reduced Energy Usage Strategies For BSL3 Laboratories
BSL3 laboratories work with agents such as West Nile and Yellow fever viruses and require strict controlled areas and be registered with appropriate government and safety agencies. The reason they are considered Biosafety level 3 labs is because they work with the agents that can cause serious and lethal repercussions with human beings.
These facilities require certain safety precautions for both the workers and the environment which includes quality, safe and proper air flow supply, protective clothing, and specific building designs. These types of laboratories usually consist of multiple spaces where the air changes constantly and where leakage of air is low because of the building's design of these spaces. Pressure control area are usually cascaded on top of each other to have different containment barriers between the lab and public corridors. Door interlocks and access control are often required as well. These facilities are also responsible for a lot of energy consumption due to their safety measures and most of this consumption comes from their ventilation systems.
More companies and government agencies are taking into consideration ways to reduce BSL3 laboratories', and other labs as well, energy usage without disturbing the integrity of the work being performed or giving up the quality of airflow needed to safely operate these facilities.
Some Energy Saving Strategies To Consider
Many of the ventilation systems in these labs are on a constant airflow feed which can be a cause of energy consumption. It's also believed that the exhaust systems used in these labs can make up nearly 50 percent of the ventilation system's energy usage. By reducing the exited air flow a lab can save nearly 15 percent on their energy cost.
In most of these facilities, managers must justify a strategic plan for any changes or new equipment that may be necessary for reducing energy consumption before executing them.
Some steps to assists the laboratory manager and facility professional in executing their plan would include:
â€˘ Meeting with a building professional who understands BSL3 lab environments, your company, and the building's challenges.
â€˘ Have the ventilation system audited including the existing exhaust system to acknowledge areas for improvement.
â€˘ Based on the audit report, create a plan that thoroughly explains the current energy usage and what the energy usage would be with optimizing or replacing the system or its components.
Once the energy savings plan is implemented, to ensure a maximum energy savings, personnel should be trained on the system's changes. It's equally important that continuous monitoring is performed based on actual BSL3 laboratory operations.
Air quality in BSL3 labs is essential for safety and compliance reasons and the ventilation system plays an important role in obtaining these requirements. At the same time, the ventilation system is also one of the largest contributors to the lab's energy usage. The use of modern technologies, such as automated monitoring, an effective control device, shut off valves, and so on, that can adjust the airflow for actual conditions can result in energy savings for these and other facilities as well.