Designing an energy-efficient cleanroom is all about identifying the areas that have the most potential for waste and cutting energy consumption until the result is a streamlined, high-efficiency, ultra-clean cleanroom.
Your first priority in designing your cleanroom is function. You want to make sure your cleanroom is accomplishing its main task of meeting class standards and protecting your work with as few contaminants as possible. Your second priority should be to cut costs and extra energy usage wherever possible, not only to allow your cleanroom to function at its highest level but also to save valuable energy, not only reducing your operational costs but lessening your cleanroom’s environmental impact.
The biggest waste in cleanroom design comes from building your cleanroom to run overcapacity, even though it’s not strictly necessary to meet minimum requirements. This makes your cleanroom’s systems work harder than they need and cost more money to run. Let’s look at a few areas where you can cut back on your energy consumption when designing an energy-efficient cleanroom.
Energy Efficient Cleanroom Space
When designing an energy-efficient cleanroom, one of the major factors to consider is space. To run your cleanroom at maximum efficiency, your cleanroom should only be as large as necessary to accommodate equipment and personnel. You should condense your cleanroom wherever possible by removing modular cleanroom wall panels or reshaping its SoftWalls. This effectively reduces the amount of air in your cleanroom, helping you achieve better control over its quality. It also means you will use less energy to filter, change, heat, and cool the smallest amount of air possible.
Assembling the cleanroom on-site has the potential to create more gaps during the building process where air and energy could escape. Alternatively, modular, pre-engineered cleanrooms will save energy, time, and money, while minimizing expensive air leakage. Cleanroom design experts can help you plan out your cleanroom ahead of time and anticipate the areas air might escape, designing optimal airflow patterns using computational fluid dynamics software.
Your energy-efficient cleanroom design should control leakage as much as possible, including around the most conspicuous areas such as pass-throughs, walls, ceilings, and duct connections. Your condensed cleanroom will also need to avoid overpressurization. Overpressurization is not only expensive to generate but increases air leakage, which is extra energy seeping away.
Energy Efficient Cleanroom Systems
Your cleanroom’s energy usage is dominated by its HVAC system. The HVAC system is responsible for heating and cooling your cleanroom, regulating humidity, and controlling air changes and filtration. It’s also one of the biggest areas you can cut down on energy usage and costs.
Many cleanrooms use their HVAC systems to excess, changing the air more frequently than absolutely necessary. By reducing air change rates to where your cleanroom can still meet its class standards, you can make your cleanroom more energy efficient. Particularly if your cleanroom already uses a particle counting system, the air might not need to be changed as frequently to achieve optimal cleanliness. Also, keeping your HEPA and ULPA filters in excellent condition will increase the efficiency of each air change, so fewer will be needed to keep the air clean.
Consider installing updated HVAC systems that use new, energy-efficient technology. These systems might recover “wasted heat” by reheating used air or water from your cleanroom’s air compressor or the chiller condenser. New technology can also consider what times your cleanroom needs to be at high-standard operational cleanliness versus when the space is unoccupied and can possibly conserve energy. If your cleanroom is not in use 24 hours a day, you can adjust the temperature, humidity, and air change rates to save energy when the room is dormant.
Energy Efficient Cleanroom Fixtures
Finally, energy-saving fixtures can be an integral part of your energy-efficient cleanroom design. Use LED lighting and water-saving appliances wherever possible. Consider attaching detection sensors to overhead lighting to limit wasted energy.
When selecting industry-specific equipment for your cleanroom, choose models that can run at the lowest level possible. If you can, use equipment that can be turned off or have some components switched off when unused. Similar to your HVAC system, using newer equipment may present more energy savings than outdated equipment.
To see if new equipment or systems are a valuable investment, don’t consider the price of the update so much as the amount they can save over time. The savings you can accumulate through the design of an energy-efficient cleanroom can offset the costs of the upgrades and help you achieve your cleanroom goals with minimal waste.
With careful planning and design, you can create an energy-efficient cleanroom that achieves its goals, complies with class standards, and saves energy costs as much as possible. An energy-efficient cleanroom will allow you to address your environmental impact while managing operational costs and enjoying the savings from decreased energy usage and expenditures.
Looking to make your cleanroom as efficient as possible? Talk to the experts at Angstrom. We take pride in creating customized cleanroom solutions that fit your needs, no matter how big or small. If an energy efficient cleanroom is what you’re looking for, we’re here to make it happen.