The National Energy Management Institute has awarded Virginia Tech a $200,000 grant to document the efficiency of fume hood retrofits in the context of lab spaces.

The goal of the grant is to document the impact of fume hoods on overall lab space performance, said Georg Reichard, Ph.D., who, along with Shashank Priya, Ph.D., will serve as principal investigators on the project.

Reichard and Priya are associate professors at Virginia Tech.

A fume hood is a type of ventilation device designed to limit exposure to hazardous or noxious fumes, vapors or dust. It is typically a large piece of equipment enclosing five sides of a work area, the bottom of which is most commonly located at a standing work height.

“Fume hoods are notorious energy hogs,” Reichard said. “However, simply replacing fume hoods with more efficient systems may not show the anticipated savings unless they are integrated into an overall lab design.”

The research plan submitted by Virginia Tech aims to gain a better understanding of the direct impact of different retrofit scenarios of individual fume hoods on the overall energy consumption of laboratories.

NEMI officials said that Virginia Tech was selected as the recipient of the grant because of the high caliber of the lead researchers, particularly in the areas of energy management and conservation.

The researchers intend to attain new data and knowledge of selected retrofit scenarios of fume hoods and their impact on the overall energy consumption of HVAC systems in laboratory spaces.