TROX leads laboratory efficiency drive

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Published: 26 September 2019


air management energy efficiency university of Birmingham
The Collaborative Teaching Laboratory at the University of Birmingham
TROX air management systems have been chosen to optimise energy efficiency for a new teaching laboratory at the University of Birmingham.

The Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) was completed in August 2018 and represents an investment of over £40m in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Energy efficiency was a major priority as the energy consumption of laboratories can be three to four times that of offices on a square metre basis, due to higher cooling loads and the requirement for larger volumes of conditioned air for equipment such as fume cupboards. Laboratory air management specialist TROX was approached to provide solutions capable of optimising energy efficiency, whilst maintaining the appropriate safety and comfort conditions for building occupants.
 
The laboratory air management specialist installed EASYLAB systems incorporating 88 TROX VAV (Variable Air Volume) units. The EASYLAB systems manage the supply and extract controllers to provide a rapid response to changes in extract volumes by the technical extract (for example fume cupboards) to ensure the correct air flow balance and room pressure at all times in the laboratories. This significantly improves energy efficiency, as it prevents unnecessary supply of conditioned air to the space.
 
TROX also supplied equipment capable of optimising the lifecycle costs of the university’s investment in scientific hardware. One large space in the CTL includes 50 fume cupboards; to optimise energy efficiency, the air management system divides the lab into 5 zones, each with 10 fume cupboards fitted with EASYLAB TVLK-type fume cupboard controllers. Sash distance sensors control the volume flow rates based on the height of the sashes, and BE-SEG-02 user displays, with traffic light warning systems and audible alarms. Each zone features two supply air VAV units which track the extract air, ensuring the maintenance of correct leakage flows. By matching the supply of air to the changing requirements of the space these features reduce over-supply and wastage of conditioned air, ensuring that research can be carried out safely in the space whilst achieving the optimum level of environmental and financial performance.
 
The open bench area features eight dedicated EASYLAB VAV units, switched locally, to provide LEV extract with local fault and alarm indication. All the units in the project feature a BACnet MS/TP interface card, allowing the university estates team to monitor the specialist lab air management systems via the site’s BMS. The levels of efficiency made possible by the TROX air management systems have contributed to the outstanding levels of environmental performance of the new building as a whole. The building boasts an ‘A’ EPC rating and has been rated ‘Excellent’ by BREEAM.
 
Ian Thomas, product technical manager – air products at TROX UK, said: “It's a pleasure to be involved in a forward-thinking project. The logistics of the project offer considerable efficiency improvements over running multiple single-disciplinary labs, and we are extremely proud to have been able to support that vision with our equipment.”

www.troxuk.co.uk