3 Ways To Use HVAC Technology To Improve Your Laboratory's Indoor Air Quality

20 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog

When you manage any sort of laboratory, you know how important it is to maintain excellent indoor air quality (IAQ) for the protection of your lab workers and the equipment they use. Today's HVAC technology is more equipped than ever to provide answers to your lab's air quality issues.

If you need to improve your lab's environment, here are 3 possible solutions:

Use innovation to properly seal your ducts.

The HVAC system is nearly always to blame when there are IAQ issues. If the building where your lab is housed has leaks in the HVAC ducting, the first signs you may notice are odors from the other building occupants. One building's workers always knew when a new body arrived at the crime lab located in their facility, because the sickly-sweet scent would eventually drift through all of the other offices. Some workers had to go home due to the strong smell .

The cause of the cross-building contamination in this case was found to be leaks in the air ducts. Even tiny pin pricks in duct work can strain a large HVAC system. The leaks create a loss of "sucking" pressure needed to move air out, and cause dusty, moldy, and smelly air to be drawn into the ducts and blown throughout the building.

An innovative solution is to use a new aerosolized spray to seal leaky ducts. Rather than HVAC technicians tearing apart walls to locate and repair leaks, the repair work is done by having the sealant sprayed into the ducts,  where it is attracted to leaks and fully seals them along the entire span of the duct work. This solution is often all you need to restore excellent IAQ to your lab.

Consider active or passive beams.

Also called chilled beams, these are fixtures that are usually located in the ceiling. They use water to cool air (or heat it in some cases) and provide superior ventilation for specific areas.

One of the problems with maintaining good air quality in a lab is the huge amount of air that must be moved in order to to maintain good air circulation and conditioning. This is partially due to the heat given off by freezers and lab equipment.

Locating chilled beams in areas of the lab where you have IAQ challenges can significantly cool and condition the air while using far less electricity than conventional cooling and ventilation systems. As chilled beams become more commonplace in commercial, medical, and educational buildings, you should have no trouble finding local suppliers who will explain how the active and passive beams work and where they will do your lab's air quality the best good.

Demand-controlled ventilation.

When the lab is in heavy use, the air change rate per hour (ACH) needs to be higher to clean and recirculate fresh air into the work space. But there's no reason to have to keep ACH rates high 24 hours a day. And it's inconvenient to have to manually adjust the ACH rate as techs enter and exit the lab.

Demand-controlled ventilation systems monitor air quality and automatically adjust the ACH to keep IAQ at safe and healthy levels. This not only ensures that you always have high-quality air in the work space, but this type of system also helps cut energy costs, since it's only going into high gear when extra air flow is necessary.

The demand-controlled ventilation systems also have software and tools to track ventilation stats, energy efficiency, and long-term indoor air quality issues. The systems provide useful feedback when you make changes including replacing lab equipment with more efficient models or installing chilled beams.

Talk to HVAC contractors, such as Tailor Made Maintenance Inc, today.