Environmental Systems | News

U Iowa To Control Lab Environment with Aircuity

The University of Iowa in Iowa City will be expanding its use of environmental control technology in its labs as those buildings are constructed or renovated. The research school has contracted with Aircuity to supply a "demand control ventilation system" in a $122.5 million biomedical discovery building. In 2010 the university had run a pilot of the Aircuity products in another lab setting, the Carver Biomedical Research building. An additional million-dollar installation in that building is planned as the facility undergoes renovations in 2011.

The company said that its OptiNet system can monitor for particles, carbon dioxide, and other airborne contaminants and also optimize air change for energy efficiency, safety, and comfort. It claimed that labs can typically lower their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning energy costs by 20 percent to 40 percent.

OptiNet takes samples of air throughout a facility and routes them to a suite of sensors. The sensor analysis is used to manage building ventilation controls when, for example, labs are unoccupied or when air quality calls for a change. The 2011 renovation installation will consist of 10 Aircuity sensor suites installed in the lab areas. Each sensor suite is capable of sampling the air in up to 18 areas. The plan also calls for five Aircuity carbon dioxide sensor suites in office areas if budget allows. This work is partially funded by a grant from the state's Office of Energy Independence.

The new biomedical discovery building, named The Pappajohn Institute, will be the university's new 200,000-square foot home for interdisciplinary health-related research. It's due for completion in late 2013.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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