When designing any laboratory space it is vital that the design includes a well-designed heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for each laboratory and office space. The type of work and equipment within a laboratory will greatly influence the design of a HVAC installation. Each project whilst having common elements is designed to suit the clients individual workflow patterns, the number of staff, fume cupboards and extraction systems, heat outputs from equipment and energy supplies to the building. The location of the air handling plant and air conditioning equipment is an important consideration. All work must be designed to provide safe working conditions for laboratory staff and maintenance engineers.
The selected pictures show a wide range of work all demanding a high level of clean air, return air ventilation with heat recovery and close temperature control. In creating the right conditions, it not only provides a safe workspace but provides a pleasant environment for staff to work in.
An important consideration for any laboratory relates to the protection of the work that is being carried out. By this we mean, are you wanting to protect the user or the products being used in your laboratory. Laboratories can be designed to provide negative or positive pressures within each space. For example, if you wish to prevent smells from permeating from a laboratory to other areas within a building then a negative laboratory pressure would be recommended. If you are dealing with experiments which could be influenced from work in other areas then a positive air pressure would be recommended to ensure that contaminated air cannot enter the room. Laboratories that include a large number of fume cupboards or fume hoods will also influence the design of the HVAC systems. The performance of any fume cupboard installation will be affected if a well designed air replacement system is not incorporated. The lack of air to a laboratory not only affects the performance of the fume cupboards but puts your laboratory staff at risk when the room is starved of air. The quality of the air will also be affected if air is not re-introduced into the work area.
Whilst the introduction of a well designed Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system introduces capital costs to a project, due consideration must be given to this part of any laboratory design. In some cases the project may not achieve building control approval if a HVAC system is not implemented.