LiveGreen: Shutting the fume hood sash saves energy

If you spend time in a lab, you have an opportunity to help reduce a significant amount of energy during the hot summer months — and all year round. Fume hoods that are left open when not in use consume the same amount of energy as 3.5 homes in a day, and the ventilation can account for half of all energy used in a lab. Not only does closing the fume hood conserve UNMC’s energy and reduce environmental impact, it also:

  • Ensures safety of self and colleagues
  • Saves the university at least $700,000 to $900,000 annually by ensuring the air exchange system runs efficiently
  • Limits the amount of conditioned air that exits the building
  • Prevents alarms from being triggered in the evening for some research buildings

Fume hood sashes are usually see-through panels that open and close to let air in and out. When a fume hood sash is open, it essentially creates a large hole in the lab's wall that leads directly outside, using a significant amount of energy. This is important because it filters out noxious fumes so the air in the lab doesn't get contaminated, but when the fume hood is not in use, there is no need for it to be filtering clean air.

Check out what some of your colleagues have to say about the importance of shutting the fume hood sash:

"If you care about reducing our energy footprint, which means helping both the environment and our bottom line, please shut the sash of your fume hood when it is not in use!" – Jennifer Larsen, MD, vice chancellor of research

"By shutting the fume-hood sash, med center colleagues not only can ensure safety and significantly reduce energy use but also save money. If a fume-hood sash is left open, the exhausted air must be replaced with fresh air, which in turn must be heated or cooled, all of which uses energy. The med center could save nearly $1 million every year by shutting the sash and ensuring our air systems run efficiently." –Andrew Balus, facilities management and planning

New "Shut the Sash" stickers are being put up in UNMC labs this week and next week. If your lab still needs new stickers or you would like to put up posters, please email LiveGreen.

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