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Extracting carbon savings from our science labs

The University’s programme of energy efficiency improvements to its fume cupboards has been recognised by 3 national sustainability awards:

stickerFollowing a successful £250,000 pilot scheme in 2014, the University carried out a complete review of all its 252 fume cupboard facilities.  A further £768,000 has been invested during 2015/16, partly funded by a 0% loan from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE)’s Revolving Green Fund.

The programme has involved:

  • Upgrading constant air volume (CAV) fume cupboard ventilation to variable air volume (VAV) ventilation; resulting in significant energy savings whenever the fume cupboard sashes are closed
  • Replacing 98 extract fans with higher efficiency equivalents, which on average use 32% less energy
  • Providing new ventilation to 49 chemical storage cupboards, meaning their associated fume cupboards can be switched off when not in use
  • Removal and making good of 2 redundant fume cupboards
  • Re-calibrating the face velocities of cupboards across campus
Extract fans and stacks
New extract fans & exhausts
fume cupboards
New fume cupboards controls



This has been a significant and at times disruptive programme of work and we are particularly grateful to our Chemistry colleagues for agreeing to a complete decant of their research laboratories during the upgrades.

With the programme now substantially complete, we are monitoring energy consumption closely to ensure that the anticipated £315,641 and 1,037 tCO2 total annual savings are delivered.

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