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Fume hoods, ventilation systems, chemical waste, and equipment make laboratories one of the biggest challenges for universities striving to become more sustainable. The challenge lies in balancing the requirements for research and safety with the technical management of equipment, including Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, user needs and behaviours. Reducing  energy consumption is one of the most important aspects of making laboratories more sustainable because energy consumption is generally four to six times higher than in ordinary office buildings (electricity consumption per m2 is often five to six times higher, and heating four to five times higher). Fortunately, it is possible to get substantial results from fairly minor adjustments, such as switching off equipment not in use. Users constitute another important focus area, though they are often neglected or deemed less relevant. However, it is absolutely  vital that those who use labs are made aware that sustainability and high-quality research are not mutually exclusive ; it is indeed possible to accommodate sustainability and high standards simultaneously. Naturally, all laboratories are not directly comparable. Working in a biological, chemical, or physics lab will entail different challenges and possibilities for the implementation of a green approach in terms of cost reductions, the improvement of health and safety, and the optimisation of workflows. However, providing knowledge about the total energy costs of running laboratories can increase the motivation for more energy-efficient behaviour in those who use them.



IARU - Green Guide for Universities – pathways towards sustainability  

Green Guide for Universities – IARU pathways towards sustainability developed by 10 leading international universities and the think-tank Su...

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