Many of these research activities require specialist equipment or ventilation, making labs responsible for around 60% of the University's total energy consumption and carbon emissions.
To address this, we have created the Sustainable Labs programme which specifically focuses on energy reduction and sustainability in labs.
We encourage and support best practice so that sustainability becomes an integral part of everyday lab work.
Achievements to date include replacing inefficient ultra-low temperature freezers and glass drying cabinets with energy-efficient sustainable units.
These replacements already save up to 615 MWh electricity and 188 tonnes of carbon per year and cut running costs by up to 72%.
We produce an occasional e-newsletter for everyone interested in laboratories and sustainability. So sign up if you would like to receive updates on various topics including project and funding opportunities, workshops and new resources. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘SUBSCRIBE’ in the subject line.
Find out below about how to be more sustainable in your lab space. Please raise awareness - many researchers may not be aware of where savings can be made and will appreciate your advice and encouragement.
Don’t miss our short be efficient, be sustainable best practice guidance videos for labs, for further helpful tips.
Do you know that shutting a fume cupboard sash reduces its air flow, energy consumption and carbon emissions by up to 40%?
Be conscious of what and how much you use.
Before buying new equipment, think about what is already available. Most departments list their equipment and research facilities in this online searchable database.
Sharing equipment has lots of benefits:
Freezers use a lot of energy - using space efficiently means fewer new ones need to be added.
Check if others can make use of your unwanted chemicals and equipment
Find out how to dispose of items in the safest and most sustainable way:
Green Impact is our main sustainability engagement programme. It provides simple and effective ways for staff and students to improve the sustainable practices of their building, department, college and, of course, labs.
As part of Green Impact, we have created a special category dedicated to laboratories. Green Impact Labs contains best practice ideas to get you started and covers all areas including energy, materials, water and waste.
Impressive individual projects are already underway, saving many tonnes of carbon.
If you do decide to create or join a team and have a go, Green Impact Labs will recognise all the great things you’re already doing. The programme will also provide plenty of ideas for ‘next steps’ to increase your lab’s future sustainability.
You’ll be rewarded! Note all your fantastic actions down in your Green Impact workbook to collect points for your team. Your achievements will then be recognised and celebrated at the University’s annual Sustainability Showcase.
SIGN UP TO GREEN IMPACT LABS
We are now supporting labs to get LEAF accreditation. LEAF was developed at UCL and helps researchers, staff and students to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their laboratories. It allows users to quantify the impact of their actions both in money and in carbon. Criteria cover areas such as people, waste, ventilation, chemicals & samples, equipment, procurement, and research quality.
LEAF is currently contained on a spreadsheet (and supporting guidance documents) and accreditation is done through the Green Impact scheme. Teams will be able to work towards a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. Contact us at email@example.com for more information or to request your copy of the LEAF workbook.
This is a growing area and we will share more resources with you over time. In the meantime, you may find these simple steps helpful:
Freezer best practice - we have created some stickers 'How to keep your freezer healthy' with some easy to follow tips. If you would like these for your lab please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equipment sharing database
University-wide database, for high-value equipment. Feeds into national database.
For lab and office equipment reuse (University-wide redistribution).
Asset resale service, share of the profits returned to the department.
Assistance for departments considering the environmental, social and economic impacts of its purchases.
Electronic lab books
License provided by the IT department.
If you would like to monitor the energy consumption of your equipment, we can provide energy meters for this purpose. Please email email@example.com
We are currently developing best practice guides and sustainability training materials for lab managers and students to use and share. We will share all our resources as they become available here and on our Sustainability Resources page.
DOWNLOAD OUR SUSTAINABLE LABS POSTER
'How to keep your freezer healthy' stickers
'Switch off' stickers
Fume cupboard stickers (Shut the sash)
If you would like to have some stickers for your lab please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are always open to new ideas to make labs more sustainable and want to support you in your efforts as much as possible. We not only have resources to help you on your way but some funding may also be available. For more information contact Steffi Reiss, Sustainability Projects Manager for Lab Optimisation at email@example.com.
For e-news on sustainable labs subscribe here
Share lab equipment by visiting our online database
Sustainability Projects Manager for Laboratory Optimisation firstname.lastname@example.org