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Fume Hood Design
for the 21st Century

Workshop Report

At the beginning of the 21st Century, laboratory design practices have emerged that place new demands on laboratory ventilation systems and more specifically, on fume hood design. Evolving laboratory chemistries and technologies (such as nanoscale work, genetic engineering, and 3-D printers), open plan laboratories, automated ventilation control technologies, and concerns about facility energy costs have all impacted fume hood design and operation. These changes mean that institutions that host laboratories are reevaluating their expectations for design, performance, testing and usability criteria for their fume hoods. These expectations are often expressed as institutional design standards. The goal of these standards are to assure that a prudent balance of 1) protecting worker safety and health and 2) providing and operating a flexible and sustainable facility is achieved in new and renovated  laboratories.

To support institutions in identifying elements that should be included in the these design standards, a one-day workshop was held on October 29, 2014 to discuss emerging fume hood design issues and consider what details should be considered as institutional design standards are updated to  reflect these changes. The focus of the workshop was to  describe key questions that an institution should consider in developing fume hood design standard and performance testing requirements as well as to identify potential answers to these questions. The information collected from the discussions is collected in this report to help a design team identify what issues need to be addressed in programming, planning, designing and commissioning a lab project that includes fume hoods.

Workshop Background

Four organizations partnered to organize the workshop:

The primary organizers for this workshop were Ralph Stuart and Ellen Sweet, on behalf of the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety, and Pam Greenley on behalf of the New England Chapter of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. The Workshop was co-sponsored by 5 organizations:



Safety Stratus

  safety stratus logo

Kewaunee Scientific Corporation


Lab Crafters, Inc.

lab crafters

New England Lab

new england labs

In attendance were 32 people from 28 institutions, companies or government agencies, with a diverse mix of Environmental Health and Safety staff, laboratory designers, architects, engineers, hood certification experts, and hood manufacturers attending. The institutions and organizations participating in the workshop were a mix of large, medium and small entities. This diversity of perspectives made for robust discussions during the workshop.

Workshop Structure

The workshop was structured to identify key questions that an institution should consider in developing a fume hood design standard and provide potential strategies for answering those questions. The workshop topics were chosen to address cutting edge issues that are not currently well documented in the literature; these topics build on fundamental information that is contained in a variety of resources (see below).  We recognize many fume hood design questions are related to larger laboratory ventilation issues at the macro- and meso- scales. These considerations were included as they directly impact fume hood design questions.

A Word about Terminology

In developing the workshop, the goal was to provide extensive opportunities for the participants to share ideas, experiences, and concerns from their perspectives. The workshop planning committee identified four key topics related to fume hoods that would be foci of discussion. These were:

The questions considered in each of the areas and elements of appropriate answers for institutions developing a fume hood design standard are found at the links above or from the “Fume Hood Design Workshop” menu at the top of the page.

Information Resources

During the preparation for this workshop, key public resources about the issues to be discussed were identified. These are listed below.

Non-Commercial Sources

Commercial Guidelines

Questions about this report can be addressed to Ralph Stuart at or to the moderators of the discussion sections identified on each report page.