The traditional approach to providing vacuum for science labs was a central vacuum system. Also known as “house vacuum,” these systems used one or more large pumps to send vacuum through copper tubing throughout the building from their location in a basement. The large central pumps typically operate 24/7, ensuring that vacuum will be available at any time it might be needed for a class or for research, even though the building may be largely unoccupied nights and weekends – 70 percent of the time. Depending on the size of the building and the number of labs supported, the copper tubing may be 4 inches in diameter near the pump, tapering to less than an inch in the labs.
Since these inflexible tubing networks are part of the building infrastructure, they are commonly oversized to ensure that vacuum could be made available at any location where it might be needed in the future. The oversized pump and piping impose significant lifetime operating costs.
The alternative: VACUU·LAN® local vacuum networks
With a VACUU•LAN network, a single, dry vacuum pump supports numerous vacuum ports within a lab. Vacuum networks are installed only where and when the need is clear, allowing you to right-size the vacuum installation without sacrificing future building adaptability. Vacuum is produced on demand by small, quiet, oil-free, in-lab pumps, and variable speed pump motors respond to network loads, pumping only as much as needed. Energy savings can reach 90 percent compared to central supply, and service cycles stretch to many years in most labs. Vacuum quality – depth and stability – is sufficient to eliminate the need for many dedicated in-lab pumps that are often purchased to compensate for the limitations of a central vacuum. Further, in-lab pumps can capture waste vapors at the source rather than exhausting them through roof fans into the atmosphere, a practice at odds with sustainability goals.
If you are planning a lab renovation or new construction with sustainability as a core concern, consider opting for a local vacuum network over a house system. To learn more about how local vacuum networks can make your lab more agile, sustainable and effective, contact us today.