Capturing Waste Heat From Manifolded Lab Exhaust and Beyond

Sean Convery, Cator, Ruma & Associates

Manifolded lab exhaust provides great opportunities to recover energy and transfer back into the supply air or into a water system. Heat recovery in lab exhaust has historically been with Run-Around Loops, Air-Air heat exchangers, Heat Pipes and Enthalpy Wheels.

Other unique opportunities to recover heat are simple heat exchangers to transfer that energy into a water side system such as domestic hot water or using a heat recovery chiller to exchange the waste heat from lab exhaust to either a low temperature heating water system or for domestic hot water.

An intelligent high efficiency energy recovery system is a glycol run around system with specialized coils in the supply and exhaust air streams with PLC controls. Like other run-around systems, it must bypass the supply coil to keep the water temperature above the frost point of the exhaust coil. A heat exchanger can be placed on the pumping skid of the energy recovery system to extract heat from a chilled water system to minimize the need to bypass the supply coil thereby increasing the energy recovery. This has been used to create process chilled water, or more recently to pre-cool chilled water return (and heat lab supply air) from a Data Center before returning to the chiller plant. Waste heat from a data center can also be used directly to hear lab supply air. Case study examples will be provided.

This presentation will recap the typical methods of heat recovery, and dive deeper into the unique opportunities for further energy savings beyond the conventional systems.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand Conventional Heat Recovery Methods pros & cons;
  • Understand heat recovery chiller energy recovery methods;
  • Learn about Intelligent High Efficiency Energy Recovery systems; and
  • Understand how to integrate Data Center Heat Recovery with an Intelligent High Efficiency Energy Recovery system.


Sean Convery, PE is a Principal at Cator, Ruma & Associates and President of the Colorado I2SL Chapter. His 26 years of mechanical design experience includes energy-efficient mechanical systems for research labs and higher education campuses. He has been involved in the design of over 100 lab projects, many of them Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL-3).


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