Shut the Sash

Introduction

Laboratories are the most energy-intensive buildings at UChicago, and fume hoods are one of the primary drivers of that energy use. When open, a single fume hood can consume as much energy as 3.5 homes. To save energy and stay safe, fume hood sashes should only be opened to set up or modify an experiment. The UChicago “Shut the Sash” campaign aims to motivate sash closure when fume hoods are not used to save the energy within labs. The campaign began in Searle Chemistry Laboratory in 2017 and has yielded significant positive impacts. UChicago Facilities Services, in partnership with the Physical Sciences Division and Environmental Frontiers, is expanding the Shut the Sash program throughout the rest of campus. The competition component is currently running in Gordon Center for Integrative Sciences, Searle Chemistry Laboratories, and the William Eckhardt Research Center.

How it works

Using the building automation systems, the real-time fume hood sash position is recorded every 15 minutes. The data is then aggregated for each fume hood on a monthly basis. Monthly feedback including graphs of sash data for each lab is distributed to department heads.

All fume hoods under each PI are considered as a group. Every quarter, the lab groups that display the following traits will win donuts and a certificate of achievement:

  1. Lowest average sash position
  2. Greatest percent reduction from their baseline data (baseline data is the average of data collected from the previous six months)
  3. Consistent good sash closing habits

What you can do

Shut the sash on your fume hood whenever you walk away from it and remind fellow lab users to do the same.

Email the Office of Sustainability at officeofsustainability@uchicago.edu with any questions.


Fall 2022 Winners

The following labs won the Fall Quarter 2022 Shut-the-Sash competition: 

Searle

  • Rawal’s Lab for the category of “Consistent Positive Performance”
  • Dickinson’s Lab for the category of “Best Overall Performance”
  • Dong’s Lab for the category of “Greatest Overall Improvement”

GCIS

  • Jureller’s Lab for the category of “Consistent Positive Performance”
  • Krishnan’s Lab for the category of “Best Overall Performance”
  • Irvine’s Lab for the category of “Greatest Overall Improvement”

ERC

  • Swartz and Hubbel’s Lab for the category of “Consistent Positive Performance”
  • Tirrell’s Lab for the category of “Best Overall Performance”
  • Rowan’s Lab for the category of “Greatest Overall Improvement”

Congratulations to all winning labs.