The present invention provides a low energy consumption fume hood that provides an adequate level of safety while reducing the amount of air exhausted from the hood. A low-flow fume hood in accordance with the present invention works on the principal of providing an air supply, preferably with low turbulence intensity, in the face of the hood. The air flow supplied displaces the volume currently present in the hood's face without significant mixing between the two volumes and with minimum injection of air from either side of the flow. This air flow provides a protective layer of clean air between the contaminated low-flow fume hood work chamber and the laboratory room. Because this protective layer of air will be free of contaminants, even temporary mixing between the air in the face of the fume hood and room air, which may result from short term pressure fluctuations or turbulence in the laboratory, will keep contaminants contained within the hood. Protection of the face of the hood by an air flow with low turbulence intensity in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention largely reduces the need to exhaust large amounts of air from the hood. It has been shown that exhaust air flow reductions of up to 75% are possible without a decrease in the hood's containment performance.