OEMs, Enhance Lab Efficiency and Sustainability with Innovative Airflow Control Technology

In today’s rapidly evolving world, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Laboratories, often energy-intensive environments, are no exception. To strike a balance between safety, efficiency, and environmental responsibility, lab equipment needs to evolve. One solution that stands out is the integration of energy-efficient airflow controls into fume cupboards. This innovation not only reduces energy consumption and costs but also ensures the safety of lab workers.

Fume Cupboards: A Necessary Safety Measure

Fume cupboards are vital for safeguarding lab personnel when working with hazardous, toxic, or pyrophoric materials. These specialised enclosures enable lab workers to work behind a movable or fixed window, ensuring a controlled and secure environment.

However, this enhanced safety comes at a price. Ventilating fume cupboards consumes a substantial amount of energy and incurs considerable expenses. On average, a fume cupboard exhausts approximately 750 to 1,000 cubic feet of conditioned air per minute—equivalent to the energy consumption of a medium-sized family home over 24 hours.

Back in the 1990s, we recognised the need for more efficient control of fume cupboard ventilation, creating a suite of specialist Variable Air Volume (VAV) Airflow Controllers and Monitoring systems, designed to enhance safety, improve efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of these critical lab components.

The Power of VAV Airflow Control and Monitoring

The shift from Constant Air Volume (CAV) airflow control to our VAV Controllers can dramatically reduce the volume of air needed up to an impressive 85%. This translates to substantial energy cost savings, shrinking both operating costs and the lab’s carbon footprint.

Here are some key statistics:

Average energy cost savings with VAV over CAV airflow control: £1,271 per fume cupboard per year.

Average energy saving with VAV over CAV airflow control: 35,475 kWh per fume cupboard per year.

Whether integrated during manufacturing or retrofitted on-site, our VAV Controllers deliver precise control of air supply and ventilation, adapting to varying temperature conditions seamlessly.

A Real-Life Success Story

We recently partnered with a leading fume cupboard supplier for a large laboratory refit project. This project involved the installation of 65 non-standard fume cupboards, all equipped with our energy-saving AFA1000/E Airflow Controllers. These controllers, accredited by the Carbon Trust, significantly reduce energy consumption while maintaining the highest standards of safety and user comfort.

The anticipated results of this installation include:

  • Total annual energy cost savings: £82,615
  • Total annual energy saving: 2,305,875 kWh

These energy savings are expected to cover the investment in just over two years, demonstrating the compelling economic case for adopting this technology.

Auto Sash Controllers: A Game-Changer in Energy Efficiency

In addition to VAV Controllers, we turned our attention to fume cupboard sashes—a crucial factor in a fume cupboard’s energy efficiency. Leaving the sash open when it’s not in use wastes energy and incurs unnecessary costs.

Our Auto Sash Controller is a market-leading solution that utilizes a passive infra-red sensor (PIR) to monitor the workspace in front of a fume cupboard. It automatically closes the sash when the operator isn’t present and reopens it when they return. This not only reduces the release of harmful substances but also further minimises energy consumption.

The TEL Auto Sash Controller is recognised for its ecological friendliness. It’s featured on the Carbon Trust ECA Energy Technology List (ETL) and played a crucial role in Ohio State University achieving a Silver LEED Sustainability Rating and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Labs21 certification.

Benefits of TEL Auto Sash Controllers for manufacturers:

  • Can be fitted to new or existing fume cupboards with a choice of three motor drive systems.
  • Suitable for both VAV and CAV fume cupboards.
  • Dual auto sash controllers available for fume cupboards with two sashes.
  • Full integration into TEL Airflow Control and Monitoring systems.

In today’s competitive market, where energy efficiency and cost management are paramount considerations for lab managers and fitters, incorporating specialist airflow control and monitoring products like ours can make all the difference. It not only saves energy and money but also ensures the well-being of lab users and contributes to a sustainable future.

To find out how we could help you, get in touch with us on 01457 865635 or by emailing us at

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