Tulane University Shut the Sash Campaign

Shut the SashShut the Sash Day is Tulane University’s campaign to spread awareness about the energy and safety impacts of fume hood practices in laboratories. Fume hoods are ventilation devices used in laboratories to protect researchers from potentially harmful fumes. Because they pull so much air out of buildings, they require large amounts of energy.   A single fume hood on Tulane’s Uptown campus can use the same amount of energy as a single home and results in twice the CO2 emissions of a single car in a year! If the sashes are shut when the fume hood is not in use, the fume hood continues to provide ventilation but the volume of air drawn out is greatly reduced.

The energy savings described above are mainly achieved with fume hoods that have variable air volume (VAV). Laboratories on Tulane’s Uptown campus in the Israel Environmental Sciences Building, Flower Hall, and newly renovated labs in the J. Bennett Johnston buildings have these types of fume hoods. Fume hoods that operate with constant air volume (CAV), do not see the same energy savings, but regardless, closing the sash of fume hoods is important for safety reasons as well. Closing the sash provides a safety shield to help contain the spread of hazards into the rest of the lab.

Click here to read the findings and results of our first Shut the Sash Day educational campaign.

Tulane Resources
  • Flyer
  • Calculations: shows a simplified version of calculations of the energy use of a fume hood at Tulane University.

Sticker Designs: The arrow design is to be used as an indicator on the side of the fume hood to remind workers of the appropriate maximum height/opening of a closed fume hood sash (which is at six inches).


Resources from Other Universities and Organizations

Better Buildings Alliance, U.S. Department of Energy

This website provides various resources for running a sash management campaign. Access to sticker designs, a report on UC Davis’ campaign that includes a detailed description of the different types of fume hoods and how they affect energy efficiency, and implementation guides can be found here.

Harvard University Shut the Sash Program

Description, results, and analysis of Harvard’s Shut the Sash Program, established in 2005, which annually saves an average of $200,000-$250,000 in utility bills, and 300-350 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from being emitted.

University of British Columbia Shut the Sash Competition


University of California Irvine
UC Irvine also part of the Green Campus program, were concerned about the fume hood’s dramatic impact on the environment. They have a large number of fume hoods on their campus and realized the energy consumption a single fume hood releases. Their campaign used a three step approach which included education, stickering, and finally, organizing a competition to see the savings. The third approach proved the most successful and earned UC Irvine multiple awards in Campus Sustainability.

University of California San Diego
UCSD began their Shut the Sash campaign to model after UC Berkeley and UC Irvine. Their campaign was actually a competition sponsored by the Green Campus which is a division of the Alliance to Save Energy. UC San Diego wanted to provide building safety features to improve their energy consumption. The competition integrates building safety into the curriculum and has taught interns who have worked on the campaign valuable lessons on sustainability features.

Indiana University, Save Energy, Be Safe
Environmental Health and Safety sponsored Indiana University’s Shut the Sash campaign. Their focus was to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving the sash unattended. Indiana stickered each fume hood with informative stickers that read their slogan, Save Energy, Be Safe and also used the statistic “If left open, your fume hood uses 3.5X the energy of a house. Save energy by SHUTTING THE SASH when not in use.”

University of Las Vegas. Shut the Sash. Save Energy. Save Money. Be Safe
UNLV focused on implementing strategies to raise awareness for staff members and students about the safeties of shutting fume hoods. Their informative PowerPoint details who and when are the best times to shut fume hoods.