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How a Biological Safety Cabinet Exhaust Canopy Works

The Baker Company's FlexAIR canopy exhaust connection saves energy and improves overall safety performance.

by The Baker Company
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Problem: Exhausting type A2 biological safety cabinets (BSCs) to a building exhaust system is safely accomplished by using what is commonly called a canopy exhaust connection (CEC) on the top of the cabinet. The openings on these connections are typically big enough to maintain correct airflow through the cabinet in the event of building exhaust system fluctuations. However, the openings remain fully open in the conventional canopies even when the exhaust system is functioning normally. This results in a continual draw of room air through the openings that mixes with the BSC exhaust and enters the building’s exhaust system. Exhausting more room air results in losing more conditioned air and running the building exhaust system at a higher flow level, which results in substantially higher energy costs.

Solution: The Baker Company’s FlexAIR® canopy exhaust connection saves energy and improves overall safety performance. Importantly, the new exhaust canopy meets NSF standards even when the building’s exhaust system fails and an alarm alerts the user to the system failure.

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With environmental resources becoming more and more limited, reducing energy costs is a paramount concern of every laboratory. An analysis published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that laboratories consume five to 10 times more energy per square foot than typical office buildings.1 The addition of the new FlexAIR canopy can reduce energy consumption in laboratory environments and improve a biological safety cabinet’s operating characteristics.

The Baker Company’s FlexAIR canopy exhaust connection (CEC) requires 15% less airflow than designs presently available. Even more significant, productivity levels remain high and safety for both the product and personnel will continue to exceed NSF standards even when the building’s exhaust system fails.

By incorporating FlexAIR into the design of a laboratory, it can replace the need for a general room exhaust as it allows air changes set for the space, even when the BSC is off.

The Baker Company’s new biological safety cabinet line, the SterilGARD e3, operates at a higher efficiency level while maintaining optimum performance. Adding a FlexAIR (CEC) to these cabinets further reduces energy consumption while still providing maximum containment through a total exhaust connection.

The new FlexAIR canopy is designed with a single opening covered by an air damper and designed to reduce the overall volume of air required during normal operation of the cabinet. FlexAIR also accommodates lower air changes during unoccupied times and night setback modes.

If the building exhaust system attempts to pull in more air than is supplied by the cabinet, two-sided intake dampers will open to allow room air in through the intake ports, thus enabling the cabinet to maintain A2 intake airflow conditions at its front access opening.

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  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Federal Energy Management Program. Laboratories for the 21st Century: Energy Analysis. April 2003.
  2. The Baker Company, white paper: “Energy Efficient Biological Safety Cabinet Reduces Energy Costs while Ensuring Safety,” 2008.