With rising energy prices and dwindling energy resources, laboratories are under increasing pressure to curb their carbon emissions. Unfortunately, many items of essential electrical equipment, such as the class 2 laminar air flow cabinet, are by necessity large consumers of energy.

The biohazard safety cabinet, or BSC, plays a vital role in protecting the user, the environment and – in the case of the class two cabinet – the sample from contamination. This potentially uses large amounts of electricity, and while there are various ways to reduce consumption, care must be taken not to compromise on quality or safety.

Volatile compounds

A class 2 BSC uses a combination of laminar flow and HEPA-filtration, with the most energy efficient systems being those where the exhaust air is recirculated back into the lab. However, where radionuclides or toxic volatile chemicals are used the cabinet must be exhausted through the building’s ducting, since the filter allows these products to pass through. Moving the contaminated air, and replacing it with fresh clean air of equal temperature and volume, both substantially increase energy consumption.

One way to improve energy efficiency is to restrict the use of external exhaust systems to times when they are absolutely necessary. Avoid using them for purely biological applications, close down vents that are not in use, and consider sharing cabinets between exhausts.

Consider an upgrade


Rather than altering a complex, finely balanced HVAC system, it might be better to upgrade to an energy efficient laminar flow product, such as the BioMAT 2 Class 2 safety cabinet.

The first carbon neutral biohazard safety cabinet in the world, models include total exhaust, thimble-ducted and recirculating options – all with equally impressive carbon footprints.

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