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Safety First in the Lab

One of the largest research and teaching centers in the Nordic region got a new venti­la­tion system in 2016. Owner Akademiska Hus set up ambi­tious envi­ron­mental targets for the project.


Over 1,000 employees and five build­ings with a total area of around 50,000 square meters – the Kemi­cen­trum in Lund, Sweden is an archi­tec­tural heavy­weight. Built in the 1960s, it presented major chal­lenges to its owner, the Akademiska Hus real estate company, when it came to effi­ciency. “We want to halve the quan­tity of energy that we purchase by 2025,” said Caro­line Warnicke, the Energy team leader at Akademiska Hus. The strategy had two parts. On the one hand, newly planned build­ings and ones that were still to be built had to be revised to include energy opti­miza­tion. On the other hand, existing build­ings were to be opti­mized. The chem­istry center in Lund fell into the second cate­gory.

Focus on safety and savings

Since 2010, reno­va­tion work has been contin­u­ally done on the build­ings in the complex. In November 2015, it was time to renew the venti­la­tion system. The special focus was Building 1 in the complex, which housed research and teaching rooms for chem­ical engi­neering, mate­rial chem­istry, and basic educa­tion in chem­istry on around 15,000 square meters. The place at which two AC fans connected in parallel did their job was where the require­ments for suit­able venti­la­tion and air condi­tioning were the most strin­gent. After all, people use chem­ical in the labo­ra­to­ries and the vapors they set free have to be extracted from the venti­la­tion system. The focus was the safety of the people who work there. “That was why we urgently needed redun­dancy in Building 1,” recounted Ingvar Artiles, the facility engi­neer for Akademiska Hus who headed the project in Lund. “The old system was simply unable to do the job.”

Out with the old, in with the new

A FanGrid was the solu­tion. For several years, this layout has been the means of choice in Sweden for cases like that of Kemi­cen­trum Lund. Instead of relying on a few large fans, in a FanGrid the load is distrib­uted among several smaller fans. “If a fan in a FanGrid fails, we can easily compen­sate for it by temporarily increasing the speed of the others,” said Jan Sörensen, sales engi­neer at ebm-papst in Hässle­holm. When it comes to FanGrids, ebm-papst is a pioneer in Sweden and was also the first point of contact for Kemi­cen­trum.

The FanGrids trans­port up to 26 cubic meters of air per second.

In summer 2016, Ingvar Artiles and his colleagues replaced the old system with the new FanGrids. Two FanGrids with nine RadiPac fans each were installed and two others contain six fans each. The larger FanGrids trans­port a maximum of 26 cubic meters of air per second and the smaller ones manage 17 cubic meters per second.

One more step towards sustain­ability

The EC motors in the fans deliver higher effi­ciency, while a Flow­Grid inlet grill reduces the noise level. “The collab­o­ra­tion with Akademiska Hus was chal­lenging yet fun,” said Jan Sörensen from ebm-papst in conclu­sion. And Akademiska Hus was another step closer to its ambi­tious sustain­ability targets: After two years of oper­a­tion, the retrofit has already brought energy savings of around three quar­ters of the orig­inal consump­tion.

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