Following from the fume hoods discussion there is a lot that can be achieved when looking at energy use in general in labs. As already discussed, labs are energy intensive places, any work towards reducing this will have a positive overall impact on reducing a lab’s environmental footprint.
Switch if OFF!
The most basic step a lab user can take to reduce energy use in labs is to switch off equipment such as computers, incubators and weighing scales, when they are not use. Although this can seem too simple to make a large difference, if every lab user did this it could save a huge amount of energy. As much of 50% of a lab’s energy use is in ‘plug-in’ equipment. Using colour coded stickers to inform all lab users of what items can be switched off directly after use, at the end of the day or should not be switched off at all. Having a check list for equipment that should be switched off at the end of the day in all labs can help to remind users and place energy savings at the forefront of lab activities. Alternatively using outlet timers can switch equipment off automatically.
As mentioned previously correctly managing your fume hoods and cold storage devices can deliver huge energy savings benefits. These items are the most energy intensive in a lab so focusing on these specifically can deliver tangible results. Shutting the sash and raising the temperature of storage are the most effective way to make real energy and cost savings.
Sharing equipment with other labs is another way to make a large impact on your energy bills. This can also help to reduce waste, as often a lab already has a piece of equipment you might need for an experiment, sharing this can help to save money and resources. It also then encourages lab users from different areas to work together and share knowledge as well. This can result in other interesting discoveries and should not be discounted.
Simple acts such as switching florescent light bulbs to LED bulbs can reduce your energy use. LED lights have a longer lifespan and do not consume as much energy. This can be especially effective in operational growth cabinets for biological experiments. Putting lights on sensors (either time or motion) can also help impact a lab’s overall energy bill as people can often forget to turn them off when leaving a room unoccupied.
Contact building and estates if you want a detailed run down of your lab’s energy use.