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4.17 Energy Conservation in Laboratories

Laboratories are energy intensive facilities, consuming many times the energy use of the average non-lab academic buildings. Laboratories use large quantities of air for ventilation and fume hoods; electricity to operate fans, lighting, and specialized lab equipment; and large quantities of water and process chilled water.  Some laboratory facilities also use substantial quantities of natural gas.

There are a number of things that lab occupants can do to reduce the overall consumption of energy:

  • Turn off the room lights.
  • When possible turn off electrical equipment when not in use.
  • Use timers to turn other pieces of equipment on and off automatically.
  • Unplug equipment when not in use.
  • Turn off your computer’s monitor when not in use. The monitor consumes over half of the energy used by the average computer.  Put your computer and monitor into "sleep" mode after 10 minutes and cut power use nearly to zero.
  • Keep the sash closed on your fume hood.  This promotes both energy conservation and safety. 
  • If you would like to temporarily turn off your fume hood, please contact your building coordinator.
  • Rooms that are too hot or too cool may be due to faulty thermostats or other controls that are malfunctioning or have drifted from set points, resulting in wasted energy as well as uncomfortable conditions for you. If you experience these problems, then contact your Building Coordinator for assistance.
  • Report drips of water from sink taps, chilled water connections or Reverse Osmosis (RO) faucets.
  • Clean out and consolidate freezers and refrigerators at least once per year.
  • Set refrigerator and freezer temperatures at necessary levels instead of the lowest set point the equipment can achieve.
  • Consolidate incubator use and freezer storage to minimize the number of appliances used.
  • Use shades and blinds as provided to help keep your space cool on sunny days.  The shade can reduce the amount of cooling required in a south or west facing room by over 30%.
  • Use electric smart strips to minimize electricity used by items on the strip (EcoStrips).
  • Discourage the use of space heaters.
  • Develop maintenance schedules for scientific equipment, such as cleaning compressor coils on cooling devices, to extend the device's life and maintain its energy efficiency.