Research Labs


Energy

Labs use TONS of energy:woman working in fume hood

  • Labs use more energy per square foot than any other energy sector except data centers. This is due to their energy-intensive equipment, around-the-clock operations, 100% outside air requirements, and high airflow rates.
  • Ultra-low temperature freezers can use as much energy as an average household every day.

How to save energy:

  • Close the fume hood when not in use to significantly decrease energy consumption.
  • Make sure to turn off lights and small equipment when not in use.
  • Consider purchasing an energy efficient Ultra Low Temperature (ULT) freezer.
  • Turn off computers at the end of each day.

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Water

Labs use a lot of water:water filled beakers

  • It takes 3 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of deionized water
  • Autoclaves typically use about 60 gallons of water per cycle.

Decrease water use:

  • Use tap water rather than deionized water whenever possible.
  • Try to consolidate autoclave loads.

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Waste

plastic waste from lab

Labs generate significant waste:

How to Reduce Waste:

  • Reduce use of consumable materials.
    • Consider using glassware instead of plastics.
    • Purchase from vendors that have reduced their packaging.
  • Reuse equipment whenever possible to reduce waste and save money.
  • Recycle non-hazardous lab waste.
    • Recycle all gloves, pipet tip boxes, Styrofoam containers, and cardboard.
    • Ask your EH&S or Facility Management representative about recycling conical tubes, centrifuge and microcentrifuge tubes, pipet tips, reagent and chemical containers, and glass bottles.
    • Maintain proper signage and lab recycling procedures to encourage recycling.

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Chemicals

hazardous chemicals

Many labs use hazardous chemicals:

  • Lab chemicals can be difficult to store and dispose.

Reduce hazardous chemical waste:

  • Employ the Green Chemistry principles. Green Chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.
  • Use green cleaning products.
  • Try to share and reuse chemicals between multiple labs.

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Office of Sustainability
312-314 Corbett Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5774
Tel: 207.581.1571
sustainability@maine.edu