Yale University Sterling Chemistry Lab Renovation: Incorporating Effective HVAC Control Strategies and Integrating User Level Control

Anthony Kosior, Yale University

In the fall of 2016 Yale University completed a 159,000 square foot comprehensive renovation of Sterling Chemistry Laboratory located at the heart of Science Hill on Central Campus. The renovation produced a state of the art teaching laboratory facility for both Chemistry & Biology allowing for flexibility and a collaborative learning environment.

Unique HVAC design and controls strategies played a critical role in providing flexibility, efficiency, safety, and performance to meet the evolving needs of the faculty and students. These strategies include:

  • Fume Hood Controls: Fume hood controller settings were established & verified well before construction via mock-ups to identify proper control sequencing of multiple hoods connected to a single air valve.
  • Lab Airflow Control & Fume Hood Operation: Fume hood intensity for the chemistry teaching labs were extremely high resulting in 30+ ACH at max operating condition. Hoods were banked together & control was brought to the user level via local control panels to allow faculty to turn fume hoods on/off as needed based upon class size & daily teaching curriculum. Airflow to these labs were reduced to 4 ACH during non-use unoccupied time periods.
  • Occupancy Based Control: Occupancy sensors were utilized to control & vary airflow / temperature setpoints. Modes of operation include occupied, standby & unoccupied settings.
  • AHU Operation: Sequencing of AHUís based upon total airflow to allow AHUís to shutdown during low airflow periods.
  • Other Control Strategies: Low temperature runaround based heat recovery strategy and user level control of process chilled water delivery to fume hoods.

Control system trend data of airflow operation and building level metered energy consumption, since the project was completed, will be shown to exemplify how effective the control strategies have been. Control of fume hood operation within the chemistry labs will be further explained, which was brought to the user level resulting in significant airflow reductions when fume hoods are not needed in real time in lieu of establishing broad occupancy schedules within the control system.

Lessons learned include; development of detailed airflow matrix tables that support control sequence development as well as air balancer and functional test verification; methods and procedures used during functional testing; incorporating the need for adding general exhaust to fume hood intensive spaces to allow for optimal flexibility; integration of the controls vendor early in the design process to reduce changes during construction and lack of specificity within project documentation.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the magnitude of time, resources and detail necessary to carefully develop, implement and test HVAC operating control strategies. Learn what it takes to produce a full set of accurate written operating sequences that match system level programming.
  • Identify system design details and how they translate to written control strategies for critical HVAC systems that allow for system flexibility and high levels of energy efficiency. Learn how details within programming can drive system operation and lead to efficient and/or inefficient operation.
  • Integration of user level control as a key control strategy in reducing airflow in chemistry labs. Learn how to develop design strategies that adopts program functionality into HVAC controls to allow end user the ability to utilize systems only when needed.
  • Evaluate & understand key lessons learned that were incorporated into the project & takeaways for future projects. These lessons will target design strategies, documentation & process used to test & verify proper operation as well as producing better project documentation to reduce changes during construction & post construction operating issues.


Anthony Kosior, Director of Engineering & Energy Management for Yale University, is responsible for managing/directing engineering & energy management functions in support of campus operations & capital program work. He is also responsible for managing Yale's purchased utilities, energy reduction goals & long term utility master planning with focus on resiliency & energy efficiency. Mr. Kosior has amassed over 20 years of experience, is a Professional Engineer & has been with Yale since 2007.


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