feet holding room set for a constant 13
ACH equals 731.25 cubic feet per minute (CFM). This translates to approximately $1,404 dollars to heat and cool
this space per year. Conversely, setting
the ACH to drop to 2 ACH when in an
unoccupied mode reduces the CFM
to 112.5. This decreases the overall
approximate cost to operate that holding room to $216 yearly, a savings of
$1,188.00 per year. 2
Another substantial energy draw comes
from lighting the vivarium. The type of
animal in the space dictates the length of
time the lighting is in use for a diurnal
cycle as well as the level of lighting.
Using programmable lighting controls allows flexibility in changing and adjusting
lighting to meet the demands and minimize usage whenever possible. Replacing
lamps with LED lighting contributes to
Further, natural lighting can assist
with reducing overall energy consump-
tion. While natural lighting may not be
feasible in all areas of a vivarium due to
animals’ circadian rhythms and facility
security, there are benefits for employ-
ees. These include orienting employees
within the facility as well as improv-
ing their moods and reducing anxiety,
fatigue, and stress.
While vivariums require
enormous quantities of
water for their cooling
and process loads, animal
care and maintenance, and
cleaning of equipment and
spaces within the vivarium,
there are many opportunities for savings.
To reduce the reliance on
water, vivariums can install
water efficient equipment
that eliminates the “once
through water” cooling
process and cage and rack
washers that reuse water.
Further reductions in water
consumption can be accomplished by selecting
water efficient, low flow
fixtures and electronic
proximity sensor fixtures
on sinks. These low flow
strategies will provide savings to the facility without
• Choosing locally sourced materials,
rather than transporting materials
from a distance location.
• Selecting materials that are responsible initially but also are able to
withstand the rigors and harshness of
the vivarium environment (such as
low VOC epoxy).
• Replacing older equipment with energy star qualified products.
• Using a spray or vapor and then wiping an animal space to clean it versus
hosing down the area with lots of
Executing these tactics greatly impacts
the sustainability of vivariums. Yet, there
are additional strategies vivariums can
employ that include all employees in attaining sustainability.
SUSTAINABILITY IN STANDARD
Vivariums operate under strict FDA
regulations, meaning sustainability
efforts must be tailored to meet the
Figure 1: Example of an animal holding room occupied/non-occupied mode keyed switch.