Upgrade Fume Hoods to Achieve the Highest Level of Safety Performance With the Lowest Possible Energy Consumption

Tom Checksfield, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc.
Thomas Smith, Exposure Control Technologies, Inc.

People working in labs rely on laboratory fume hoods to protect them from overexposure to hazardous airborne contaminants. The risk associated with exposure can range from negligible to extreme. A Lab Ventilation Risk Assessment can characterize the risk and determine appropriate performance criteria and operating specifications for safe operation of laboratory fume hoods. Should an existing or older fume hood be inadequate to meet the performance requirements or operate at high flow and energy use, technology exists to upgrade the fume hood to achieve the required level of safety while reducing energy consumption by approximately 40% or more. This paper will describe the approach to characterizing lab ventilation risk and how fume hoods can be affordably upgraded to be safer and significantly more energy efficient with a competitive return on investment.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to use a risk assessment to categorize fume hood air flow requirements
  • Know how to use control banding for both fume hood design and management of change
  • Identify what fume hoods have the ability to be retrofitted for both safety and energy savings
  • Learn how a fume hood can be retrofitted to operate at low flow while maintaining a face velocity of 80, 90 or even 100FPM


Mr. Tom Checksfield is currently Senior Vice President, Business Operations at Exposure Control Technologies Inc. Before joining ECTI Mr. Checksfield worked as the General Manager at Tek-Air Systems Inc. Mr. Checksfield has over 30 years of experience in the HVAC, energy management and laboratory control fields. Mr. Checksfield is active in ASHRAE, CETA, I2SL and SEFA. Mr. Checksfield has been a speaker at these organizations covering several topics relating to lab safety and sustainability.

Thomas C. Smith is the President and CEO of Exposure Control Technologies (ECT), Inc. Mr. Smith has more than 30 years of experience helping research facilities design, build, operate, manage, and maintain laboratory hoods and ventilation systems. He founded ECT, Inc. in 1994 to help research facilities achieve safe, energy-efficient, and sustainable performance laboratory ventilation systems. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master of Science 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 the ANSI/ASHRAE 110 Fume Hood Testing Standard. He serves on the Board for the International Institute of Sustainable Labs (I2SL) and was recently inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. Mr. Smith has participated in hundreds of laboratory ventilation projects and helped optimize performance of thousands of laboratory hoods and ventilation systems.


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