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Aircuity Reducing Energy in Labs

October 8, 2009

Over the summer of 2009, Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES), Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS), and University Laboratory Animal Resources (ULAR) continued a 2008 energy conservation pilot that installed Aircuity’s OptiNet system to reduce excessive airflow in laboratories and vivaria, two of the campus’ biggest energy consumers.

OptiNet is an intelligent air monitoring system unlike any other system currently on the market. It operates on the concept of demand control ventilation, which determines the quantity of outside air necessary in a facility in proportion to its occupancy and air cleanliness based on a set of parameters: carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulates, total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), temperature, and relative humidity.

The pilot, installed in one vivarium suite in Hill Pavilion and in one lab suite in the Lynch Life Sciences Building for just over a year, already is producing significant energy savings in both buildings. Since the installation of the pilot Aircuity systems, significant energy savings have been realized with no deterioration in indoor air quality; the estimated payback period is less than two years. The pilot program is now being expanded to other vivaria as well as to the Translational Research Center, now under construction.

Fact

The operation of buildings contributes to 30-40% of total global energy use.

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