Control Integration Enables New Strategies for Lab Room Operation

Jim Coogan, Siemens

Advances in technology for Building Automation bring higher levels of networked control integration which, in turn, enable new strategies to optimize operation of the laboratory infrastructure.

An extended control interface between fume hoods and the lab room coordinates new functions. Exhaust capacity warning calculated at the room or system level is distributed to the fume hoods and communicated to lab workers so they can close sashes and maintain function. This enhances the reliability of systems designed with a mechanical diversity factor.

Air flow controllers for the room and local exhaust devices communicate to central fan controllers, supporting multiple strategies for minimizing power consumption at the fan.

As conservation strategies push lab air flow rates down, a new air flow driver emerges. Heating joins ventilation, make up and cooling on the list of functions that can drive lab room air flow rates. Control systems that can increase air flow to support the heating function are required by some advanced building codes. Merging control systems for lights and daylighting with HVAC supports a comprehensive setback strategy for labs and other rooms when users are not present. Specifically designed operating modes respond differently to absence of a few hours, or overnight or a matter of weeks.

Learning Objectives

  • Implement a comprehensive setback strategy, including heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting for a truly 'occupant-responsive building'.
  • Apply engaging, effective interfaces for lab users to make them 'building-aware occupants'.
  • Select and apply enhanced interfaces between hood controls and the lab room.
  • Connect air flow controls in rooms and hoods with central fan systems for the most efficient operation.


Jim Coogan, P.E., is a Principal in product development at Siemens Building Technologies. In 35 years designing controls for mechanical systems, he has contributed to products ranging from room controllers to Internet-based interfaces. Jim has chaired several ASHRAE committees. He is member of the committee currently revising the Z9.5 Laboratory Ventilation standard and participates in programs with the International Institute for Sustainable Labs. Jim earned his SB in engineering at MIT


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