Did you know that an open fume hood uses as much energy as 3.5 homes! 

Well, it’s not the fume hood itself, it’s the air being sucked through it.

For health and safety reasons, labs use 100% outside air. That entire volume of air first has to be heated or cooled to make it a comfortable temperature before it is brought into the lab.  A lot of electricity is also required to run large supply and exhaust fans that move the air through the building and through the fume hoods.

saving energy by shutting the sash

Fume hoods in newer or recently renovated labs generally have variable air volume (VAV) fume hoods. For these hoods, vented air volume is controlled by the sash height. This means the lower the sash, the lower the amount of conditioned air exhausted. This means that shutting the sash reduces the total amount of conditioned air for the building and fans don’t have to work as hard to move that air – both of these result in big energy savings.    

WISE Fume hood practices

The sash is an important safety barrier between you and your work, so sashes should only be opened to set up or modify an experiment. When the sash is shut there is still air flow through the hood to remove fumes.

Never use a fume hood just for storing chemicals – they belong in a safety cabinet, which don’t use huge volumes of air.  

If your group is no longer using a fume hood, consider having it locked and hibernated so air no longer flows through it. Email green.labs@ubc.ca to find out how. 

Get Involved

Do you have a fume hood in your workspace? Competition or not, you can help your lab save energy by shutting the sash. 

  • Finished an experiment? Shut the Sash!
  • Taking a break? Shut the Sash!
  • Leaving for the day? Shut the Sash!

Learn more about the Shut the Sash Competition below. Interested in organizing a competition in your department? Contact us at green.labs@ubc.ca.

Does your lab have standby switches on fume hoods? Let us know - there may be additional energy conservation measures we can support you with.

Learn about other energy conservation opportunities in labs.