Minimizing Laboratory Design and Operational Ventilation Rates in Compliance With Current Codes, Standards and Guidelines

Michael Walsh, R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP

Presenters will discuss the ASHRAE Standard 62.1 defined purpose of ventilation air which is to provide indoor air quality acceptable to human occupants and that minimizes adverse health effects as it applies to general laboratory ventilation when applied in conjunction with the use of primary containment devices like fume hoods and biological safety cabinets to meet this intent.

The presentation will identify and compare many of the updated codes, standards and good engineering practice guidelines, each of which provide recommendations for identifying design occupied and unoccupied ventilation rates in laboratories. Presentation will review federal (OSHA), national (IMC) and state codes that may apply along with good engineering practice standards from ASHRAE, NFPA, the USGBC, USDA and NIH as examples.

In addition the presentation will review methods for identifying and documenting criteria needed when applying demand control ventilation in laboratories while meeting the specific performance intent of the overall laboratory ventilation system. Some sample contaminants being used today for demand control ventilation in laboratories include particulate, CO2 and total volatile organic compounds. The specific intent of the discussion will be on maintaining indoor air quality while minimizing energy use.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will learn how to identify the primary purpose of laboratory ventilation systems.
  • Participants will learn how to identify applicable codes, standards and guidelines and required ventilation rates.
  • Participants will learn how to challenge conservative ventilation rates.
  • Participants will understand the process for identifying criteria needed to implement demand control ventilation in laboratories while meeting the intent of codes and standards.


Michael is a Principal and HVAC Technical Director at Vanderweil promoting innovative and sustainable HVAC system design solutions. Mike has spent 29 years focusing on the design of HVAC systems to serve over 7,000,000 SF of space including animal facilities, BSL-2 & BSL-3 labs, biomedical research, public health, interdisciplinary science and forensic laboratories. Mr. Walsh is an ASHRAE, I2SL (formerly Labs 21) and an International Code Council member.


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