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Optimizing Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories Biosafety labs seem to be the focus for energy conservation and sustainable operations from the government and companies in general. These facilities are some of the largest energy users, and Biosafety Level 3 laboratories require specialized ventilation systems and equipment for compliance and safety, which makes them higher consumers of energy than a Level 1 or Level 2 lab.

Level 3 laboratories uses more than ten times the energy than that of a typical office building per square foot, some labs can account for a hundred times more use of energy. Most of this energy consumption is due to the ventilation systems required. Although most of the attention is mainly on air conditioning and air supply, the exhaust systems have not received much focus since it is only one part of a ventilation system, even though it makes nearly 40% of its energy usage and nearly 30% of the lab's total energy consumption. This represents a reason for labs to seek sustainable and operational power savings.

Optimization Of Level 3 Laboratories - The Importance

Naturally, there is the financial aspect of reducing waste by energy reduction but taking into consideration the lab's ventilation system's power usage, companies can have a tangible return on their investment in operational costs savings alone. There's also the impact on responsibilities for corporations and the government to operate in a sustainable manner. Laboratories have an enormous responsibility to reduce the impact on the climate. The EPA estimates that if only half of the labs in the United States were to reduce their energy usage by 30%, it would have the equivalency to provide enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes.

Energy Consumption Of Level 3 Laboratories

Part of the high-electric consumption of Biosafety Level 3 laboratories stems from the exhaust system constantly being maintained at full power. For many labs, this means 24 hours a day, every day, even when there is no work being conducted in these labs. Laboratories must maintain a minimum exhaust velocity according to the American National Standards Institute of 3,000 feet per minute, whereas the ASHRAE recommends somewhere between 2 - 3,000 fpm. The EPA suggests that I order to yields

acceptable air quality at a minimum of energy usage the exit flow should be based on the contaminants actual scientific measurement.

Taking these factors into consideration one can assume that most of these lab's exhaust systems are set higher than necessary most of the time, which will produce a lot of waste. There are innovative solutions for these and all labs to reduce energy consumption by optimizing the exhaust system. These solutions could include such things as VAV controls, building automation systems, containment sensors, and airflow sensors to name a few.

The savings potential is there and will differ with each laboratory, but talking with airflow solution experts, Bio-safety Level 3 laboratories can reduce energy usage, gain significant operational savings, and gain environmental savings while ensuring the integrity of their work, safe operations and remain compliant.

Optimizing biosafety level 3 laboratories  
Optimizing biosafety level 3 laboratories  

Biosafety labs seem to be the focus for energy conservation and sustainable operations from the government and companies in general.