One of the most important aspects of having a sustainable lab is ensuring the equipment and all other item purchased for the lab are as efficient as possible and therefore as sustainable as it can be.


Consolidating orders or purchasing in bulk is one of the ways purchasing can be made more sustainable. Usually each order is sent individually, which not only has extra financial costs, usually having to pay for delivery for example, but also additional environmental costs, as each order is shipped, transported and delivered individually. Consolidating orders reduces the environmental costs and purchasing in bulk can also minimise some of the financial costs and remove the additional delivery fees.


When purchasing new equipment, it is important to assess the size of the piece versus what it is actually needed for. Although larger units are typically more efficient in terms of energy and space, this should be balanced with the actual need. A larger unit should not be purchased just for the gains in efficiency if the space is not going to be utilised to the full extent. However, it is also important to consider the potential future uses, for example is the lab going to expand, will you need more space in the future etc.

Another consideration when purchasing equipment is to consider the durability of a piece versus the cost. The initial purchase cost should be weighed against the operational/maintenance cost (life cycle costs), as part of the procurement decision making process. While the initial cost of a piece of equipment might be more expensive, it may have a lower carbon cost, and lower cost impacts throughout it’s lifetime including reduce day to day energy costs.

When purchasing new cold storage options, consider long-term storage requirements and a balance with environmental considerations before making any new equipment purchases. Individual manufactures data often varies in their collection methods, so it is important to request environmental testing conditions from when evaluation energy performance. Manufactures will usually provide this data in kWh/day figure, but to make a like for like comparison this must be converted to a kWh/litre figure.

Contact UCC procurement @ procurement@ucc.ie to ask further questions. And remember things won’t change until we start asking suppliers to make changes. Consumers have a lot of power, especially in numbers. Work together with other lab users to make the changes you want to see!