Filtered Fume Hoods: A Simple Solution for Complex Labs

Although ducted hoods are traditionally considered the best way to protect users from harmful chemical vapors, innovations in carbon filtration technology have paved the way for filtered fume hoods. In an ongoing search to improve lab experience and operations, filtered fume hoods meet all requirements. The new Echo and Airo filtered fume hoods from Labconco have many advantages over ducted models, including energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, and flexibility.

Energy Efficiency

When trying to increase lab efficiency, fume hoods may be some of the first equipment of interest. Ducted fume hoods have a high impact on a lab’s yearly heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) costs. The HVAC system exerts a sizeable amount of energy to move air into the lab and maintain it at desirable temperature and humidity levels. When exhausting to the outside environment, that valuable tempered air is removed from the building and any new air supply must be tempered in an endless repeating cycle.

Ducted hoods typically require a significant volume of airflow to work properly. Airflow costs an estimated $8 USD per cubic foot per minute (CFM) on average, with a range from $5 to $13 USD depending on the climate of the lab’s location. A ducted fume hood that requires 500 CFM could cost as much as $4,000 USD per year to operate.

The Labconco Echo and Airo filtered fume hoods eliminate HVAC costs entirely. Valuable tempered air is no longer lost but is instead run through carbon filtration and returned to the lab space. By conserving air, filtered fume hoods offer labs an excellent way to improve energy efficiency.

Environmentally Friendly

In addition to improving operational efficiency, environmental friendliness is another area of ongoing exploration. The Echo and Airo filtered fume hoods are an excellent way to reduce environmental impact. As ducted fume hoods expel air outside of the building, harmful fumes or vapors are also exhausted into the environment. The chemicals are diluted by the air, which make this a generally safe and common practice, but pollutants are still added to the atmosphere.

With filtered fume hoods, chemicals bind to the carbon in the filters and clean air is recirculated. The harmful fumes or vapors are captured and contained in the filters, which can be safely discarded when full. This process, plus the efficiency gained by eliminating exhausted air, makes filtered fume hoods an excellent option for your lab space.

Flexibility

The Echo and Airo hoods also offer flexibility when compared to ducted fume hoods. Ducted hoods require significant infrastructure and planning for installation, including the ductwork that must be in place for the airflow and exhaust. Because of this, ducted hoods are difficult to relocate once they are in place.

The placement of filtered fume hoods is not restricted, which gives the lab more flexibility. Filtered hoods require virtually no ducting, so hoods can be repurposed for changing applications by simple moving and recertification. And because the Echo and Airo fume hoods are not ducted, they can be placed in locations where ducted hoods are impractical, like the basements of tall buildings or in older structures where adding a new ducting network would be both difficult and expensive.

Filtration Technology

Erlab, a company with over 50 years of experience in carbon filtration, has formed a business partnership with Labconco that combines their innovative Neutrodine Unisorb filtration technology with Labconco’s well-established hood performance. The Erlab technology produces comprehensive molecular filters that simultaneously capture solvents, acids, bases, ammonia, formaldehyde, and other chemicals. A unique filter frame prevents carbon shifting and channeling to provide high retention capacity and extends the filter lifetime for better safety and longevity.

Labconco Filtered Fume Hoods

The Echo is a full-sized benchtop hood that can be used for many applications. Similar in size to ducted hoods, it can house similar equipment and is available with optional side and back windows for increased visibility. Also available in a floor-mounted version and multiple depths, Echo hoods can accommodate larger equipment and instruments.

The Airo filtered fume hood is a compact version that’s shorter and narrower. Airo models can be used in labs with low ceiling height clearance or those with less space available for new equipment.

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