The Life Cycle Benefits of Capturing Vapors at Their Sources

Peter Coffey, VACUUBRAND, INC.
Ken Crooks, Erlab

While energy and water utilization are rightly the focus of sustainability objectives of laboratory design and operation, an often overlooked consideration is the significant burden of exhaust emissions from these buildings. Design attention is usually given to building systems that avoid re-entrainment of exhausted lab vapors, but such approaches typically neglect the reality that exhausted vapors are still pollutants that contaminate the atmosphere, even if they are dispersed from the immediate vicinity. The notion that the solution to pollution is dilution has long been discredited in other industries, but current practice in lab design and operation seems based on this premise.

In this session, the presenters will discuss two systems built around the premise that reducing total emissions from science facilities is a more sustainable approach to lab design and operation than dispersing pollutants as far from the building as possible. Mr. Crooks will discuss the contribution that filtered fume hoods can make to the absolute reduction of building emissions, even as they make a significant contribution to the reduction of mechanical system infrastructure and annual operating costs. A full lifecycle impact of the carbon-based filters will be discussed, from manufacturing to incineration. Mr. Coffey will address the contribution that can be made by the adoption of innovative approaches to lab vacuum supply that also offer opportunities for substantial energy savings even while capturing waste vapors near the point of generation and collecting them for proper disposal instead of exhausting them to the atmosphere. Both technologies enhance building sustainability by reducing the total emissions through roof-top fans, improving adaptability over time and lowering energy costs. These approaches are applicable in both new construction and renovation of existing labs.

Learning Objectives

  • Lab design professionals can incorporate more sustainable systems into their projects.
  • Lab building owners will be able to calculate the environmental benefits of not simply exhausting their chemical vapors into the atmosphere.
  • Environmental, Health and Safety personnel can better assess the holistic impacts of alternative building systems.
  • Lab building owners can incorporate sustainable building systems that lower lifetime building costs.


Peter Coffey joined VACUUBRAND in 2009 with the mission of bringing to North America energy- and water-saving lab vacuum technology developed by VACUUBRAND of Germany. Earlier, Mr. Coffey served as VP-Marketing for BrandTech Scientific, Inc., and has held various positions in companies supplying to scientific markets. He began his career as an environmental analyst after earning an MS in natural resources management. He also holds a BS in Biology from St. Bonaventure Univ. and an MBA from Stanford Univ.

Ken Crooks joined Erlab in 2013, bringing over 25 years of international and domestic sales and marketing management experience to his new role as Director, GreenFumeHood Technology. Mr. Crooks is an ASHRAE Member, an NFPA member and an ANSI Z9.5 Committee Member. He earned his B.S. in Management from Lesley University and a certificate in HVAC design from Northeastern University. He has held management positions at Phoenix Controls, Aircuity and Munters Corporation.


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