Demand Control Ventilation at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Following a recent upgrade of its demand control ventilation (DCV) platform, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is monitoring energy savings in real-time.
Originally installed in the university’s Hartline Science Center in 2017, the Aircuity DVC platform was updated last year to support real-time monitoring of fume hood usage to allow easier identification of rooms with high airflows and better identification of poor indoor air quality (IAQ).
As a result, building and facility managers were able to recognise immediately when fume hoods in research laboratories were being left open unnecessarily and contributing to thousands of dollars of lost energy savings.
A simple student-run program
Aircuity and Bloomsburg came up with a simple program employing a part-time student intern to create a program to get the sashes closed and increase savings. The University hired senior engineering major, Roberto Reyes, who used Aircuity’s tool and identified approximately 20 fume hoods that were left open and/or potentially not working properly.
Roberto’s program uncovered 10 fume hoods that were malfunctioning in various ways and he worked with their controls vendor to get them fixed. Several of the 10 fume hoods were running at 100 per cent flow even when the sash was closed due to a failing actuator. A few others were found to have a face velocity below the University’s standards. Some fume hoods were purposely left open due to the requirements of the experiment being conducted and they were left in their current positions.
The remaining hoods had been accidentally left open while not in use and this was addressed through a program of communication with department heads and users. The strategy was simple and based on communicating three key items:
▶ If left open, the average fume hood will cost the University almost $5,000 per year
▶ The average user is in front of the hood about 5% of a 24 hour day
▶ The University knows exactly where your sash position is at all times and where you rank relative to all other fume hood users.
The internship spanned about a month with Reyes putting in 10–15 hours a week. The bulk of his time, especially in the beginning, was spent coordinating with their controls vendor to get the hoods fixed. After that, he was able to do a quick check of the fume hood performance metric on the “MyAircuity” dashboard and an email to researchers working in labs where sashes had been left open.
Reyes says the new analytics helped the university achieve its full savings potential by allowing staff to “get the hoods fixed” whilst also ensuring “a safer environment for researchers”.