In cleanrooms, very low particle concentrations are maintained by recirculation of air at a high rate (e.g., 600 room air volumes/hr) through highly efficient air filters. Results are reported in a Class M3.5 (Class 100) cleanroom with 28 m2 (300 ft2) floor area, where significant energy savings were realized by controlling the rate of air recirculation through the filters in response to real-time measurements of particle concentrations. An inexpensive, $2500, optical particle counter was used to measure particle concentrations. The effect of varying the recirculation airflow rate on particle concentrations was investigated. Changes in recirculation fan speeds of 10 percent or greater did not cause a noticeable particle release from filters or resuspension from indoor surfaces. With new automatic control systems in operation, there were occasional, usually fewer than 10/day, nonconsecutive l-min episodes in which the particle concentration exceeded Class M3.5 (Class 100) status. Depending upon the choice for baseline energy use, the energy consumption of the recirculating fans was reduced by 60 to 80 percent, and the estimated payback period for a 90 m2 (1,000 ft2) Class M3.5 (Class 100) cleanroom is from 1 to 4 yr.

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