Fume hoods have long been used to protect workers from breathing in harmful gases and particles. Because they are on 24 hours a day and pull air through the open window-like face (the sash) at around 100 fpm, fume hoods are energy-intensive devices. The research, that began in 1995 at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), has led to an improved fume hood that provides better protection to the user at one-half the energy use.
Between 500,000 and 1 million hoods are in use in the United States, so aggregate energy use and savings potential is significant. The annual operating cost of U.S. fume hoods ranges from $1 billion to $2 billion, with a corresponding peak electrical demand of 2,300 to 4,600 MW.