User's Perspective on Selection, Balancing Energy Saving Versus Safety, and Lessons Learned

Mahdi Fahim, North Carolina State Unviersity

Laboratory fume hoods and ventilation systems are the primary means of protecting people working in laboratories with potentially hazardous materials. Selecting correct exhaust devices, choosing proper exhaust ventilation systems, identifying the best lab and supply/exhaust layout, defining lab air change per hour (ACH), and many other aspects are critical information needed for designing a safe, dependable, sustained, and energy efficient laboratory. This presentation intends to address challenges that designers face meeting user's needs and requirements, share lessons learned from users/owner perspective, and address how to narrow the gap between the code requirements, designer's perspective, maintenance requirements, and user's requests and need.

Learning Objectives

  • Review of the different local exhaust devices and systems.
  • Identifying and balancing user's need, safety requirements, and energy efficiency.
  • Ability to select system design criteria such as room and hood operating specifications and VAV vs. CAV system.
  • Consideration of user's today and future need through a flexible design.


Mahdi Fahim is the Assistant Director-Laboratory Safety Manager at North Carolina State University, Environmental Health and Safety Department, Raleigh, NC. Mr. Fahim is an Industrial Hygienist, specialized in laboratory exhaust ventilation systems, local exhaust management, and chemical safety.  He holds a MS degree in Industrial Hygiene from University of Toledo.  His Master’s thesis was in ASHRAE 110 test method and fume hood performance modeling. He has presented several PDC, poster, and podium presentations at AIHce and other national conferences on laboratory safety and energy management subjects. He is an active member of the I2SL Local Chapter, AIHA, and AIHA laboratory Safety committee. He has also been involved in developing the ANSI/AIHA Z9.5 Standard for Laboratory Exhaust Ventilation.


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