Over the years I designed some of the best performing fume hoods in the market. They tested extremely well in the ASHRAE test lab. Yet, it was not uncommon to test them after they were installed only to find them performing poorly compared to the test lab.
It became apparent that unless laboratory ventilation and fume hood use were viewed from a holistic point of view, the anticipated performance and safety would be realized. Today, I try to put everything into the perspective of those working in the lab in and around fume hoods
Chip’s mission is “making fume hoods safer one hood and one person at a time.”
In 1980 Chip joined a major manufacturer for lab furniture and fume hoods. His early years exposed him to a lot of smoke and mirrors and black magic around fume hoods.
The mid-1980s the first ASHRAE 110 was published and followed in 1991 by the OSHA Laboratory standard. This was a turning point in the industry. Finally, we were seeing more science being applied to fume hood design and operation. At this point Chip became much more involved in fume hood design. He was responsible for the design of many innovative features including the axle and chain system for sashes.
Chip has been involved in the manufacturing and installing of tens of thousands of fume hoods. He has visited countless labs and seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and exposed the fact that the fume hood is the most misunderstood and misused safety device in most laboratories.
What he saw in those labs he visited caused him to better understand that fume hood performance cannot be separated from the overall laboratory ventilation performance. Many want to treat fume hoods as a standalone device like a BSC or ductless hood. But the best fume hood in the world does nothing until connected to a laboratory ventilation system. And unless the laboratory ventilation system is properly designed, installed, balanced and calibrated the fume hood will not function as designed.
It became clear that the lack of knowledge about proper hood performance often made those hoods unsafe. Chip was often asked, “How do I know if my hood is working safely?” which turned out to be a difficult question to answer. In an attempt to help people better understand the issues, he published the book “Laboratory Fume Hoods Explained” and is a frequent presenter on fume hood safety at conferences worldwide - with an emphasis on China and India. He also conducts Fume Hood Safety Workshops around the world.
People who work in laboratories assume they are being protected from harmful air contaminates – but, are they? Until now, understanding the complexity of laboratory ventilation systems was a nearly impossible feat for most. His book takes a step-by-step approach to explaining the interface between the fume hood, the laboratory ventilation system and the building HVAC. It reveals not only the failings of these systems, but suggests solutions for making them better.
Chip’s extensive involvement in observing, designing, and testing laboratory ventilation systems around the world has given him a unique knowledge of how these systems work to create safe laboratory environments. Chip has been a major player in creating standards though his work with SEFA and as a participant on many standards committees.
The fume hood is a hybrid device. It is an engineering control that is a component in the laboratory ventilation system and it is a PPE designed to protect the user from chemical exposure and other hazards such as fires and explosions. This duality causes much of the confusion.
For 30 years, Chip worked with various manufacturers designing and producing fume hoods. In 2011 Chip formed Creative Solutions as an independent consulting agency and began working with fume hood manufacturers around the world to help them become world class producers and understand the holistic nature of laboratory ventilation. Currently Chip is the President of Fume Hood Certified.
Chip has been actively involved in the development of the next generation of smart fume hoods that will make these devices safer and more energy-efficient. He is a frequent conference speaker and trainer and has become a user advocate committed to educating all of the stakeholders that are involved with fume hoods from the designer to the user.