When I tell people that I am the fume hood efficiency intern, most people look at me with blank stares wondering what exactly does that mean or what in the world is a fume hood?
A fume hood is a safety ventilation device that protects laboratory worker’s breathing zone from hazardous vapors and pollutants released during experimental procedures by removing those vapors and exhausting them outside. The problem, however, resides in the fact that one fume hood consumes as much energy as three or four residential homes and IU’s campus has approximately 800 fume hoods installed in their science buildings.
The Office of Sustainability (IUOS) and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) both saw the need to make campus’s laboratories more energy efficient and this is where I come in. My goal for this summer is to create a guidance document on selecting energy efficientfume hoods that the architects and engineers can use when planning renovations or new building projects.
So far this project has gone really well. I have been working with EH&S laboratory safety technicians to learn all that I can about the current fume hoods installed on campus. I have also begun researching the new energy efficient fume hoods, getting in contact with manufacturers and going to IUPUI where they actually have these new fume hoods installed. Next week I also have a meeting with engineers and architects to discuss other energy saving technologies that can be installed or that are already installed on campus.
This has been a really exciting project to be a part of and I look forward to creating something that will be used to make campus more environmentally friendly and sustainable.