Shell Eastern Petroleum (Shell) approached CRC to provide a design solution for a chemical laboratory that had an extreme negative pressure (exhaust was measured at 17,650 CFM). Surrounding the laboratory is a production plant that emits a hydrogen sulfide byproduct. The laboratory’s negative pressure was sucking in the hydrogen sulfide putting laboratory personnel at serious risk of injury.

CRC inspected the chemical laboratory and observed that the air conditioning system was working hard to keep the laboratory cool. Staff were also being complacent when operating the fume hoods and constantly walked away from the device and refrained from closing the sash. This was contributing to the extreme negative pressure in the laboratory.

CRC recommended replacing the outdated technology existing fume hoods with new fume hoods equipped with an automatic sash and a variable air volume control. Shell was satisfied with the product recommendation because the staff felt it was too troublesome to remember to close the sash. The variable air volume control fume hoods allow airflow to adjust according to the position of the sash, as opposed to constant air volume systems. This ensures a constant face velocity is maintained while working and contributes to superior hood performance. The recommended fume hood greatly reduces the operating cost of the system making the laboratory more energy efficient.

CRC proceeded to oversee the entire alteration of the chemical laboratory. During the design phase, our scope included providing the HVAC schematics layout, proposing the controls system, providing the conceptual and detailed design of the renovation, and drafting the M&E specifications. CRC obtained quotes from general contractors and obtained the required safety permits to enable the general contractor to work on Shell’s premises. Throughout the project, we had a superintending officer on-site to monitor work progress and development. We continued to monitor the general contractor’s progress and tested and certified the laboratory and equipment to ensure compliance to the specifications prior to handover to Shell.