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Project makes sustainability shortlist

28 July 2016

A sustainability project by electronic airflow control and monitor manufacturer and consultant, Temperature Electronics Ltd (TEL), has been shortlisted for a national environmental award.

TEL was commissioned by an expert in the design and installation of energy-saving VAV fume cupboard systems, CSW Technical, to work on the University of Reading’s Extracting Carbon Savings from our Science Labs project, which has been shortlisted in the facilities and services category of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) 2016 Green Gown Awards. 

The university’s project follows a successful £250,000 2014 pilot, which focused on the upgrade of 44 fume cupboards, and was shortlisted for the carbon reduction category of the 2014 Green Gown awards.

The new estate-wide upgrade of science laboratory fume cupboard ventilation was delivered for £768,000, generating predicted annual savings of 694 tCO2 and £223,958. These savings follow those achieved by the pilot – 343 tCO2 and £91,683 – which paid for itself in less than three years.

Part of the new project saw CSW Technical upgrade fume cupboards from constant air volume (CAV) to variable air volume (VAV) systems across 22 laboratories in three buildings, installing TEL AFA1000 VAV controllers to 68 units. The new system was commissioned in June 2016. 

TEL’s controllers automatically adjust airflow according to need, decreasing the volume of air extracted when the cupboards are not in use, minimising energy consumption. Under the CAV system, air had been continuously extracted and replaced, even when cupboards weren’t in operation.

The University of Reading’s energy manager, Dan Fernbank, said: “To date, legal requirements around fume cupboards have focused on the safe containment of hazardous substances. This can lead to energy wastage if solutions do not also consider how to meet their requirements efficiently.  

“TEL and CSW Technical have worked together to deliver a fume cupboard system that has had a major impact in reducing our carbon emissions – not to mention costs – supporting our drive to deliver sustainable operations complementing our world-leading climate research.”

TEL’s director, Richard Eady, added: “TEL specialises in the development of products designed to deliver energy and cost savings while enabling customers to comply with health and safety legislation. We are delighted once again to have delivered with CSW Technical a sustainability solution that has achieved high-level recognition.” 

In its entirety, the University of Reading’s Extracting Carbon Savings from our Science Labs project also included: replacing 98 extractor fans with high efficiency equivalents; re-ducting 49 chemical storage cupboards to reduce ventilation speeds and enable the attached fume cupboards to be switched off when not in use; installing PIR sensors on fume cupboards, with associated alarms reminding users to close the sashes when the cupboards were not in use.

The winners of the 2016 Green Gown Awards will be announced on 10th November.  Established in 2004, the awards recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sectors across the UK and Ireland.