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Green Labs: Moving Towards More Sustainable Labs

Labs consume between 4 and 10 times more energy, water, and other materials than do offices and classrooms (DOE, 2008). With more than 700 labs on campus there is much that you can do to minimize the impact of research at UTHSC.  Review the list below to identify things that you and your colleagues can do to enhance the efficiency of your lab.

 

  • Close the fume hoods sash when not in use – especially at the end of the day
  • Turn of biosafety cabinets when not in use
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Turn off equipment and computers when not in use
  • Remove space heaters from offices
  • Manage freezers efficiently
  • Share a freezer with a neighbor
  • Defrost freezers annually
  • Remove dust from the coils
  • Set ultra-low freezer temperatures to -70°C instead of -80°C when applicable for your work. (Raising the temperature by 10°C use up to 40% less energy!)
  • Maximize available space [e.g. switch to high density storage (13x13 dividers or smaller tubes) instead of boxes that store only 81 (9x9 dividers) or 100 (10x10 dividers)]
  • Clean out materials no longer needed
  • Unplug or retire unneeded freezers and refrigerators
  • Reduce time with the door open
  • Create a sample inventory to improve access speed and reduce the number of lost samples
  • Recycle traditional recyclables - including pipette trays
  • Replace mercury thermometers with safer alternatives (e.g. alcohol). Contact labsafety@uthsc.eduhave mercury containing equipment picked up for recycling!
  • Recycle lab equipment, computers and electronics by submitting them as surplus.
  • Take advantage of vendor recycling and takeback programs
  • Recycle cell phones, batteries, and portable electronics
  • Order the smallest about of hazardous materials practical (e.g. will you really use that all 500g in that container of sodium azide???)
  • Report dripping and leaking faucets
  • Turn off the tap when not in use
  • Wash labware efficiently
  • Reduce single pass cooling
  • Buy chlorine free paper
  • Recycle and reuse paper
  • Use timers for water valves set to minimum necessary time
  • Use the appropriate quality water
  • Use ice makers, autoclaves, and stills efficiently
  • Set double-sided printing as the default
  • Purchase paper products with recycled content
  • Reduce your paper margins
  • Designate an area for office supply reuse
  • Unsubscribe people from receiving multiples and junk mail
  • Purchase recycled ink and toner cartridges
  • Enable energy saving settings on office electronics

Last Published: Sep 10, 2019