Fume hoods are one of the largest sources of wasted energy in laboratories because of inefficiencies in fume hood use. This proposal specifically funds a Fume Hood Energy Conservation Pilot Project in the National Soybean Research Center (NSRC), in which ways to reduce fume hood energy waste through behavioral interventions will be explored.
Small changes in behavior such as keeping hoods closed when not in use can have large impacts on energy conservation, but behavioral changes can be difficult to achieve. This project adapts Harvard University’s highly successful “Shut the Sash” program to the particular needs of Labs in NSRC, first by working closely with “early adopters” — labs that are actively interested in reducing fume hood energy use — to develop protocols, reminders, and reinforcement/tracking systems that help reduce fume hood-associated energy waste, and then by reaching out to other labs in NSRC. The long-term project goals are to make NSRC a model for the campus in fume hood energy conservation, and to develop an approach to fume hood energy conservation which can be readily applied to other labs and buildings on campus.