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Lab Resource Conservation Tips

Each of the following conservation tips can have an impact on resource conservation. Many tips cost nothing, only requiring a change in occupant behavior! Some tips can be done on your own, while others require the involvement of proctors, professors, and department heads.

Select from the following conservation areas for simple tips to implement around individual labs:

Select from the following conservation areas for simple tips to implement around your department:

In addition, energy audit checklists are available specifically for laboratories to help you identify potential savings. Please contact Sustainability Director Moe Tabrizi with completed checklists to arrange for a walk through and discussion of options for your lab.

Reduce Energy Consumption

  1. Turning equipment off when it is not being used not only reduces electricity usage, but also can extend the life of the instrument.
  2. Campus PhotoCooling (i.e.; freezers, refrigerators, cooling units, etc.) is a giant when it comes to energy consumption around the laboratory.
    • Turn off cooling equipment when they are not in use.
    • For freezers and refrigerators which cannot be turned off, implement the following procedures.
  3. Enable PC power management / monitor sleepmode on all lab desktop PC's monitors (more info here).
  4. Future purchasing of laboratory equipment.
    • Before purchasing new equipment, look into sharing various pieces of equipment between laboratories
    • Consider energy consumption factors when making new equipment purchases.
    • Buy equipment with an ENERGY STAR label
    • Buy equipment that uses an electronic ignition instead of a pilot light.
  5. For sources of energy waste that are out of your control talk with your lab manager, building proctor, or professor to see if something can be done. Or report the energy waste to the Energy Conservation Hotline.
  6. Be a Green Lab Superhero by lowering your Hood Sash and turning off equipment when you are done.

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Reduce Water Consumption

  1. Turn off water to cooling devices such as condensor when not in use.
  2. Determine whether water discharges from any one operation can be substituted for water supplied to another operation.
  3. Dishwasher:
    • Run dishwashers only when they are full.
    • Reduce the number of rinse cycles whenever possible.
  4. Use pumps instead of aspirators for filtration.
  5. For sources of water waste that are out of your control talk with your lab manager, building proctor, or professor to see if something can be done. Or report the water waste to the Energy Conservation Hotline.

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Reduce Material Resource Consumption

  1. Don't buy it unless you really need it, share equipment between labs.
  2. Don't use disposables (plastic conicals, etc.) when reusables (glass beakers, etc.) will work.
  3. When possible, reuse disposables (i.e.; gloves can often be used more than one time).
  4. Recycle.
  5. Purchase from companies that manufacture from recycled materials and design products for recycling and biodegradation.

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Promote Behavioral Changes

  1. Encourage equipment sharing between labs rather than the duplicate purchase of equipment.
  2. Encourage the elimination of infrequently used equipment.
  3. Encourage the turning off equipment when not in use.
  4. Encourage cleaning out of existing refrigerators and freezers. Set a period of time shortly after tests are completed that samples should be disposed of.
  5. Talk and work with custodians to get lights turned off at night.
  6. Incorporate conservation into new graduate student/new employee training (possibly as another certification in addition to hazardous waste generation).
  7. Set up an eco-leader in each lab or per section of the building and have quarterly meetings to discuss and implement ideas for conservation.
  8. Encourage or require labs to have conservation audits.
  9. Give people an easy place to report waste (within department or Energy Conservation Hotline.

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Infrastructure/Equipment Changes

  1. Clean refrigerator/freezer filters and coils every six months.
  2. Convert constant flow hoods to variable flow hoods with heat exchangers.
  3. Install timers and water-misers to shutdown autoclaves overnight.
  4. Install motion detectors for lighting in hallways and shared equipment rooms.
  5. Install timers on departmental instruments to turn them off overnight.
  6. Provide or require the use of environmentally friendly supplies such as 100% recycled paper, biodegradable cleaners, etc.

Contact Info:

Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar, Ph.D.

CU Green Labs Program Manager


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