Shut the Sash
There are two types of fume hoods at the University of Alberta: CAV (controlled air volume) and VAV (variable air volume) hoods. Whichever type of fume hood your lab uses, you should always shut the sash as it is always the safest course of action.
By shutting the sash on VAV fume hoods when not in use, you may also be conserving considerable energy and taking action on climate change.
Why you should shut the sash
The primary purpose of laboratory fume hoods is to contain and exhaust the fumes from hazardous materials. This provides a safe working environment for lab users.
When fume hoods are not in use, it is important to shut the fume hood sash. Doing so protects yourself, protects your lab and helps to protect our planet.
When the fume hood is not in use, shutting the sash minimizes your risk of exposure to contaminated air. A closed sash also guards against burns from accidental fires and can protect or mitigate injuries and damage resulting from accidental explosions inside the fume hood.
Protect Your Lab
Fume hoods do not simply protect users from contaminated air, they also protect the entire lab. A closed sash improves containment and allows fumes to be exhausted more efficiently. It can also reduce the level of ventilation noise in your lab.
Protect Our Planet
It takes considerable energy to bring conditioned air into the lab and then to exhaust contaminated air through laboratory fume hoods. According to Mills and Sartor (2005), a single fume hood uses 3.5 times more energy than the average single-family house in a year.
In 2014, the Office of Sustainability piloted the Shut the Sash campaign on the fourth floor of the Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research.
This pilot resulted in a 54 per cent reduction in fume hood sash heights at the end of the campaign compared to the baseline.
After following up six months later, these labs saw an even better result: 63 per cent reduction in fume hood sash heights.
Office of Sustainability