Real lab efficiency vs. pipe dreams
All too often doing the right thing is unrealistic. Cutting down on wasted energy, wasted time or wasted water would be great, but when it requires a brand new laboratory or a full redesign of your lab space, obtaining the resources to get it done can seem like a Herculean task.
Refreshingly, this article by Jessica Burdg gives you several smaller, more feasible projects that you can undertake to make your lab less costly and more productive. Some of these suggestions can save hours of wasted time so you can get on to more profitable projects. Others can cut down on your lab's overhead by reducing energy consumption.
Did you realize that using the wrong kind of biosafety cabinet, for instance, can turn an otherwise innocuous procedure into a major drain on the lab's energy bill? Or that washing pipettes with certain popular types of equipment uses 50 times more water than necessary?
Today’s laboratories are hotbeds of innovation, harborers of cutting-edge research and homes of state-of-the-art scientific equipment. They also use a staggering amount of energy in the process, consuming up to five times more energy per square foot than office buildings. The water usage statistics show a similar trend, as labs in university settings in particular often boast some of the highest water consumption figures on campus. What is the root of this struggle?
With a host of strict ventilation requirements, constantly running equipment and no shortage of applications that require water, it’s easy to see why maximizing efficiency in labs has become a priority. Some sustainability-focused organizations, including the U.S. Green Building Council, are promoting change in how buildings like laboratories are constructed, offering incentivized green building certification programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED rankings include...