Optimizing Ventilation Using Low-Cost Sensors to Improve Health, Safety, and Energy Efficiency

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Air is the primary carrier of hazards within a space, whether it be hazardous bi-products of research activities or airborne pathogens. As a result, building ventilation is the primary defense against unseen airborne hazards. Critical laboratory facilities already demand the need for effective mitigation of exposure to research-related, airborne hazards, providing a proving ground for effective ventilation strategies that optimize safety of occupants and reduce energy use. The heart of smart laboratory building operation is dynamic, analytics-based ventilation, which requires an intimate knowledge of building environmental conditions achieved through contaminant-detection systems. Unfortunately, currently available contaminant-detection solutions are expensive, elaborate systems that raise barriers for building managers on a limited budget. Through the successful deployment of a novel low-cost, modular sensor technology, we have developed a demand-control ventilation protocol effective in improving safety and reducing energy in the critical laboratory environment. In this session, we will highlight best practices and lessons learned through this deployment that can be applied beyond laboratories without breaking the bank. This paper describes a low-cost solution for providing a safe, healthy building environment and reducing energy use through effective, efficient ventilation.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2021
EventAEE World Energy Conference 2021 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Duration: 20 Oct 202122 Oct 2021


ConferenceAEE World Energy Conference 2021
CityNew Orleans, Louisiana

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5R00-81894 for related journal article

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5R00-81123


  • HVAC
  • laboratories
  • sensors
  • smart labs


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