GOLO Intelligent Air Valve

GOLO® Intelligent Air Valve

Delivering next-gen airflow capability with up to 100:1 turndown for increased energy savings and safe, pressurized environments

From biocontainment to forensic crime, vivarium labs, pharmaceutical labs and more—across the various types of laboratories which contribute to the global life science industry, one consistent factor remains the same—their energy-intensive nature.

 

A key factor into why labs are so energy intensive is due to the fact that laboratory air quality requirements greatly exceed those of commercial buildings. In some cases, specialty laboratories can consume 100x the energy of similarly sized commercial facilities. Laboratories are often designed for ventilation rates between 6-20 air change rates (ACH) compared to that of 1 or fewer ACH for a standard office building.

 

Airflow control is one of the technical building blocks of a functional laboratory. How much or how little airflow a lab has will impact fan power, and loads for heating, cooling and humidity control.

 

Airflow is part of several important exposure control measures including containment devices (e.g., fume hoods) room ventilation and room pressurization. In turn, ventilation systems support the exposure control devices and pressurization strategies that protect lab workers and their colleagues. These systems are built on individual air flow controllers. The way these subsystems perform enables the larger objectives of the ventilation system.

 

Which is why it is important to consider all the specifics to airflow that today’s laboratories must keep in mind.

Laboratory airflow conditions

It is essential that building owners and laboratory managers take the proper steps to understand and address laboratory airflow. By reducing their air change rates, they can save energy and remain safety compliant. Performance can also be defined with reference to control technology concepts and practical implications. Steps to achieve performance include specification, execution, testing and maintenance.

A safe research lab environment requires clean air, which means that lab building ventilation rates can be as high as 12 Air Changes per Hour (ACH); that is, the entire volume of air in the lab is completely replenished with clean air 12 times every hour.

Labs can decrease a standard air change rate of 12 ACH to 6 or 4 ACH as long as air quality, temperature, humidity, and other conditions are not adversely affected.    

A 10,000-square-meter lab takes about three years to be designed and constructed. 

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Too often, the design process fails to challenge presumed requirements. Ventilation rates have been selected according to the customary air change rate quoted by the safety department, or institutional standards, or established design practice at the firm.

Currently, designers often oversize terminals to reduce noise, but then can’t turn down for energy savings. Usage of larger terminals can’t control low flow levels and the attenuators added to reduce noise drive back pressure therefore using larger reheat coils which result in more cost. 

Additionally, modern spaces are requiring more flexible set ups, which can result in major changes in required airflows. It takes a mechanical retrofit to adjust for new air flow requirements in new lab spaces, which typically delays uptime. 

Securing Intelligent Lab Infrastructure

Implementing intelligent infrastructure drives operational efficiency and enables digital applications and services to improve occupant experience and create environments for Intelligent Labs to progress through better, data-driven business decisions. Backed by the Green Labs Solution (GLS) approach—which provides a thorough evaluation of existing lab operation and an assessment of the lab goals and objectives—implementing intelligent infrastructure can also ensure that right ventilation rates are set by following the below checklist items:

 

  • The right infrastructure and schedules are implemented to ensure proper ventilation rates are observed for safe lab occupant conditions.
  • The right laboratory equipment is in place. A typical Variable Air Valve (VAV) can’t meet the 20 cfm outside air requirement, as they are oversized. 20 cfm per zone 100 zones, bringing too much air.  However, a Low Flow Actuator (LFA) can be controlled by a VAV, unlike a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD).
  • Air change schedules have been assessed and are properly implemented to meet each space’s unique needs, to help lower energy costs without risking the health of the occupants or assets.
  • Proper airflow reduction strategies have been implemented based on: 1) Variable Air Volume (VAV) because it gradually adjusts airflow rates up and down according to instantaneous changes in loads, and 2) 2-Position Constant Volume (CV2) because it selects single high flow rate when the lab is in use and a low rate when it is unoccupied. 

GOLO® Intelligent Air Valve

The GOLO® intelligent air valve provides 100:1 turndown capability to deliver lower-controlled minimum airflows that enable more energy savings while maintaining safe, pressurized environments. It is enabled by lower duct velocities and lower pressure drops to save additional fan energy.

 

Download the technical specifications document

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