Lab Energy Savings
Refrigerators / Freezers
One of the most significant consumers of energy in laboratories are cold storage units. Notably, ultralow freezers can consume nearly as much energy as a small house. There are many ways to support more sustainable utilization of laboratory refrigerators/freezers.
- Avoid running partial loads. Coordinate with colleagues to run loads at optimal capacity.
- Use appropriate autoclave cycles for your particular load of waste. Please refer to the EH&S recommended sterilization cycle parameters.
- Turn off the blower when not in use. This confers immediate energy savings as well as prolongs filter/blower lifespan. Upon turning on the unit, be sure to allow the blower to run at least 5 minutes to normalize airflow dynamics and establish a HEPA filter charge gradient.
- Do not use the UV light. The use of UV light as a means of BSC surface disinfection is discouraged in the BMBL. Lamp efficiency wanes over time, which is further compounded by poor penetrating power.
Chemical Fume Hoods
Chemical fume hoods are exhausted enclosures laboratories that when used properly minimize exposure to hazardous gases, vapors, and dust that may be encountered in laboratory processes. Due to continuously moving conditioned air out of the lab, fume hoods are highly energy intensive. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that “an older fume hood in a MIT lab can use more than 3 times as much energy annually as a single-family home. The energy to filter, move, cool and/or heat air is typically the largest energy demand in most lab facilities.”
- Closing fume hood sashes when not in use is one of the most impactful things to save energy in a laboratory. For variable-air-volume fume hoods, closing the sash reduces the exhaust rate to its minimum.
Other Equipment and Lights
- Turn off lights when the room is vacant.
- Turn off and unplug equipment when not in use.
- Label equipment and light switches to encourage personnel to routinely turn them off when equipment or the room is not in use.