The research team at the Scottish Microelectronics Centre have saved over £10,000 on their gas bill by changing clean room settings.
Following approaches by the Sustainability Engagement team from Estates & Buildings a Principal Investigator has explored ways to reduce energy consumption in the Centre.
They relaxed the humidity and air pressure controls in the cleanrooms when staff were absent from them - and cut gas consumption by a third 33% and electricity use by 8%.
"The changes that we have made to the controls, thanks to Dougie Williams in Estates Operations, are proving to be really effective.”
Prof Tom Stevenson
Scottish Microelectronics Centre
Prof Tom Stevenson, Operations Director of the SMC, says: “These were done in two stages. First, we relaxed the control of humidity overnight during the week and from 6pm on Friday to 8am on Monday morning. During these periods, the humidity in the clean room is allowed to follow to the level determined by the moisture content of the incoming fresh air.
"We can see from the Building Energy Management System that the humidity in the clean room achieves the set point [40%RH at 21C] very quickly after 08.00 each morning and is well within specification by 08.30.
"Second, we looked at the set point on the re-heat of the fresh air that is delivered to the clean room. This was set at about 16degreesC for as long as I can remember - the idea being to ensure that the final 'mix' temperature within the clean room ends up around 21 degrees C without a need for additional cooling. Over time, we had acquired additional equipment so the power dissipation within the clean room had risen and yet we were still using the same set point for the incoming fresh air.
"This meant that we were having to apply additional cooling within the clean room to maintain the mixed air at 21degreesC. After discussion with Dougie Williams, the set point for incoming air was reduced from 16 to 13 degrees C on Monday 8th August.
"We look forward to seeing the effect of this additional change. Theoretically the energy used in this stage should be reduced by about 30%. There may be other ways of reducing our energy demands without major change to the plant but these will likely have diminishing returns.”
This article was published on Nov 14, 2011