UCSB Environmental Health and Safety and Laboratory Research And Technical Support staff are collaborating to reduce energy costs, prevent laboratory accidents and decrease CO2 emissions in university laboratories by replacing the stickers on 190 Variable Air Volume fume hoods throughout campus.
Jesse Bickley, EHS industrial hygiene specialist, said the project stemmed from a conversation with Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology lab manager Allen Doyle about the insufficiency of the old stickers.
The new sticker depicts the energy-saving and safety levels as a color gradient spanning the full range of the sash, which is the sliding door in the front of the fume hood. In contrast, the old sticker only indicated one level, which was not even the optimal setting. Wesley Horn, a LabRATS intern, said he thinks the stickers will improve laboratory safety.
“The hood is safer when it’s at a lower level,” Horn said. “In case something malfunctions, the vapors won’t leak out into the laboratory.”
Current standards require the rate of suction within the fume hood to be at least 100 feet per minute. Bickley said the VAV hoods adjust their rate according to the position of the sash in order to maintain the standard rate of suction. The old stickers indicated where the sash should be placed to achieve the standard, but did not indicate that VAV hoods use less energy and are safer at a lower position.
Although the new stickers are being applied to only the VAV hoods, Bickley said it is best to keep the sash in laboratories as low as possible and close the hood when not in use.
According to Bickley, LabRATS is currently in the process of installing the new stickers.
“We started to put some stickers on a few hoods in Bren already, as kind of a trial run,” Bickley said.