Achieving Lab Sustainability
The University of Exeter believes in implementing sustainable practices to reduce the negative impact that our research has on the environment. This is particularly relevant to our research and teaching laboratories which are intensive consumers of energy and resources.
We aim to minimise the carbon footprint of our labs by devising sustainable solutions that allow us to reduce energy consumption, plastic waste, and address other critical areas that have a heavy impact on sustainability.
Here is a link to the poster with a list of measures we recommend to help our lab users achieve a higher level of sustainability within their research: 6 Steps Sustainable Labs 2xA4 Poster.pdf
Further information on each lab sustainability subject is provided below. If you have any questions or ideas, we would love to hear from you.
Please email LEAF@exeter.ac.uk
Get Accreditation with LEAF
The University of Exeter participates in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) in order to adopt lab sustainability standards to reduce energy, water and single-use plastic usage, improve recycling rates and more.
Reduce Plastic Waste
Research labs utilise high amounts of single-use plastic (SUP). This problem can be addressed through responsible lab practises such as planning experiments in an efficient manner, finding suitable substitutes, reusing items, responsibly selecting suppliers that aim to reduce packaging and utilising take-back schemes.
Manage Cold Storage
Research labs at the University of Exeter use ultra-low temperature freezers that operate between -70oC and -80oC. These are responsible for consuming 16 to 22 KWh of energy daily. We focus on managing our ULT freezers in an optimal manner to reduce energy consumption, extend freezer lifespan and ensure sustainability.
Reducing water consumption is a vital part of creating green labs. We aim to raise awareness and instigate positive behaviour change. We regularly check the labs for leaks and dripping taps and promptly report any issues we find to our Estates team.
Focus on Waste and Recycling
We strive to introduce the Five R’s Principle (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and then Recycle) across all labs for comprehensive waste management and recycling.
Green Chemistry Practices
Lab users are encouraged to adopt Green Chemistry practices to minimise and eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in lab experiments and manage the environmental impact of their research more responsibly. These include controlling chemical usage in experiments, using less hazardous alternatives, ordering limited amounts of chemicals, and ensuring proper disposal.