Creating a Sustainable Lab Environment

Research and clinical laboratories require more energy and can generate more waste than other types of buildings. The environmental impact of unsustainable lab practices can have a significant effect on our planet’s resources. Moving toward a greener lab includes reducing energy use, choosing consumables that minimize waste, and optimizing lab processes to support sustainability.

Reduce your energy consumption by operating more efficiently

Laboratories consume large amounts of energy to keep cold storage units, computers, and other equipment operational. There are practical ways to operate more efficiently and consume less energy.

  • Turn off or unplug laboratory equipment when not in use, including computers and office equipment
  • Consider energy consumption when purchasing new equipment, go for the energy-efficient options
  • Review equipment settings through a power-management plan
  • Track your energy usage
  • Close the fume hoods when not being used
  • Clean your equipment regularly to keep it running efficiently and maintain or exceed life expectancy.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle

Small changes can lead to a big impact. Rethinking your use of plastic products can go a long way towards cutting down on landfill waste.

  • Switch from plastics to glass, when possible
  • Request less packaging from your suppliers
  • Implement a waste management plan and a recycling process
  • Conduct a waste audit to focus and maintain your green initiatives
  • Reuse and repurpose instead of disposal

Effectively controlling processes can help conserve natural resources

Managing hazardous materials includes proper handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and waste.

  • Prioritize green chemistry principles1 and select environmentally friendly alternatives
  • Establish proper storage practices and designated areas for storage of hazardous materials
  • Implement strategies to minimize the generation of hazardous waste
  • Stay informed about regulations to ensure compliance with authorities having jurisdiction.

Laboratories are energy intensive facilities. By implementing a few simple steps, you can save money and improve sustainability in your laboratory. Focusing on small yet meaningful changes can make a meaningful difference.

[1] US EPA