Minimizing Power Consumption While Maintaining Critical Design Parameters

Douglas Ross, M.K. Plastics

Laboratory exhaust systems can typically consume huge amounts of energy. Using constant speed exhaust fans with bypass dampers for system control is inefficient. And, in some areas, code now requires the exhaust volume to be variable. This presentation will explain control approaches to vary the lab exhaust volume while ensuring that the system remains safe and stable. It will also look at the ability to include additional control parameters such as wind analysis and /or chemical makeup of the exhaust stream. This presentation is to present principles and techniques that work and have provided pay-back.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding and defining the functional objectives for the laboratory exhaust control system.
  • Understanding variable volume exhaust, relative to the fan system, and the tested and proven approaches to control it to maintain safety and minimize energy costs.
  • Understanding how to integrate additional control factors such as wind speed and direction, or exhaust air quality sensors.
  • Learned from experience: pointers to ensure a safe, stable system.


Doug Ross is an Instrumentation and Control Engineer from the Auckland Technical Institute in New Zealand. Doug emigrated with his family, to Canada in 2000, working in the automation field in Canada. In 2013 Doug joined M.K. Plastics Corporation Doug established a new Australasian Sales Representative and presented a paper at the Australian Laboratory Managers Conference in 2014. Doug's particular interest is in the total system design for economically viable and sustainable exhaust systems.


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