1. Build a strong team to help collect and analyze data for benchmarking.
My first step in expanding the competition was to validate the savings from the current program. I needed to determine whether the fume hoods were still saving the amount of energy that the competition intended. After locating a number of new labs where "shut the sash" could potentially make an impact, I decided to compare fume hood management between the labs.
Between February and April 2015, I worked with Wendy Chen, a graduate student at Harvard Extension School to test the hypothesis that the Shut the Sash program was the optimal method in making fume hood operation more efficient. I collected building management system (BMS) data from several buildings, and utilizing the talents of the graduate student we compared the results. We also had to make some generalizations on fume hood operational costs. With the help of Siemens engineers and building managers, we determined that the "average fume hood," has a cost of $7.43 per CFM of exhaust per year. Obviously some fume hoods save more than others by closing the sashes, but for the sake of this study we normalized the operational cost.