UCSD’s first Shut the Sash Competition was drawn from a similar competition implemented at UC Berkeley and UC Irvine where both univerisities saved an immense amount of energy. As a champion of sustainability, UC San Diego is looking towards becoming more sustainable in all departments. The Shut the Sash campaign was designed to promote awareness of lab energy efficiency as well as show real savings in energy use and cost.


Laboratory buildings are energy intensive facilities and require up to three times the amount of energy of a regular home. Based on an estimate of 1 million fume hood installations in the US, it is estimated that California alone contributes to 1GWh in utilities due to fume hoods (LBL 1). Providing a safe environment for laboratory personnel is the foremost concern for the design of fume hoods in laboratories and proper use of them can save much energy. By making sure that fume hoods are clean and not used for storage of chemicals as well as closed when not in use, tremendous amounts of energy can be saved and fumehoods can be used in the safest manner.

Because fume hoods move large quantities of conditioned air directly outside and the air that replaces this air is also conditioned, fume hoods can be the largest source of energy waste in laboratory buildings. By shutting the fume hood sash, energy is conserved because in variable fume hoods as the sash is opened to a greater extent, air flow is increased. This safeguards scientists while minimizing air flow.

As UC San Diego continues to pursue sustainability, it is important that laboratories are also involved as environmental stewards. The “Shut the Sash” competition helps to promote energy savings by challenging laboratories to save more energy than other laboratories from a set baseline.


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