A Current Consensus on Safety and Performance of Laboratory Hoods and Ventilation Systems

Lou DiBerardinis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Thomas C. Smith, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc.

A Laboratory Ventilation and Fume Hood Summit was held at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in November of 2013 to discuss design, operation and testing of laboratory fume hoods and ventilation systems. The summit was held to review and update consensus statements generated during a Fume Hood Workshop sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in 1998. The technology and standards for fume hoods and laboratory ventilation have changed significantly over the years with particular emphasis on improving lab safety and energy efficiency. There were 52 statements developed with unanimous agreement and 3 where there was not full consensus. This presentation provides an overview of the UCLA Fume Hood Summit and describes some specific issues and consensus statements regarding operation of variable air volume systems, establishing face velocity and minimum flow for fume hoods, specifying appropriate room air changes per hour for laboratories, new methods to test performance of complex ventilation systems and training requirements for laboratory occupants and building maintenance personnel. The purpose of the presentation is to share information and encourage discussion about ways to reduce energy consumption while better ensuring the health and safety of people in, on or around laboratory buildings.

It is advisable to review the report before the presentation as we plan to encourage audience participation to obtain feedback on the issues presented.

Learning Objectives

  • Build Awareness about the consensus statements developed at the UCLA Laboratory ventilation and Fume Hood Summit
  • Discuss impact of consensus statements on lab design and operation
  • Identify and discuss laboratory ventilation issues that are relevant or important but were not discussed at the Summit and require further investigation
  • Encourage ongoing dialogue on summit proceedings and consensus statements


Mr. DiBerardinis is the Director, Environment, Health and Safety at MIT. Prior to that he was at Polaroid Corporation and Harvard University.

Mr. DiBerardinis received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University and a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Hygiene from Harvard University. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Certified Safety Professional.

Mr. DiBerardinis is a visiting lecturer at Harvard University School of Public Health where he currently teaches in several graduate courses and continuing education programs. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Campus in the Department of the Work Environment. He is the author of numerous technical publications and co-authored the text “Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations” and is editor of the "Handbook of Occupational Safety and Health", both published by John Wiley and Sons. He served as chair of the ANSI Z9.5 subcommittee on Laboratory Ventilation from 1984 to 2006.

Thomas C. Smith is the President and CEO of Exposure Control Technologies, Inc. (ECTI). Mr. Smith is a leader in safety and energy management for research facilities. He founded ECTI in 1994 to help research facilities provide safe, dependable and energy efficient laboratory buildings. He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and a MS degree in Environmental Engineering (Industrial Hygiene) from the University of North Carolina. Mr. Smith has served as Chair of ASHRAE TC9.10 Laboratory Systems, Chair of the ANSI/AIHA Z9 Standards for Ventilation and Health, and Vice Chair of ANSI/ASHRAE 110 Fume Hood Testing. Mr. Smith has participated in hundreds of laboratory ventilation projects and evaluated thousands of laboratory hood systems in research facilities throughout North America.


Note: I2SL did not edit or revise abstract or biography text. Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s).