About CU Green Labs

The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) has a near term goal of achieving 20% energy conservation by 2012 (compared to 2005 levels) and long term goal of CO2 neutrality.  Because laboratories are large consumers of resources and thus present huge opportunities for conservation, a special emphasis for conservation has been placed on laboratory operations through the creation of the CU Green Labs Program in the summer of 2009.  The program is a collaboration between the CU Facilities Management Office of Resource Conservation, the CU Environmental Center, and the CU Environmental Health and Safety.

Without question, laboratories are important centers of intellectual innovation and discovery in our society.  However, they also consume large amounts of energy, water, and materials goods.   CU has more than 400 laboratories on its Boulder campus which typically consume 5-10 times more energy than classroom or office space.  The CU Green Labs Program is working with these labs to promote the efficient use of energy, water, and materials by:

  1. Involving individual laboratory members in identifying opportunities for efficiency in their laboratory and promoting efficient behavior among laboratory members
  2. Upgrading inefficient laboratory equipment and techniques
  3. Compelling labs to turn equipment off when not in use, and to retire unnecessary or duplicate equipment
  4. Developing means to reduce the large flow of lab materials into the waste stream
  5. Raising awareness about the large resource footprint of laboratories

 

Below is 2008 data demonstrating the large consumptive nature of laboratory buildings.  The data does not represent consumption by laboratories alone since the buildings also contain significant classroom and office space.  Nevertheless, even these diluted consumptive numbers are still impressively high in many places and obviously demand the attention of conservation efforts on campus.

Energy & water use per sqft in lab buildings compared to a campus average

Building

Steam
klbs/sqft*

Water
gallons/sqft

Electricity
kWh/sqft

SQFT

Campus Average

62

32

13

9,685,160

Cristol Chemistry

117

120

32

146,980

Duane Physics

29

24

20

196,333

Ekeley

97

11

31

134,073

Engineering

61

28

19

575,591

JILA

56

21

25

106,794

MCDB

164

103

52

131,468

Muenzinger

288

13

17

151,549

Ramaley

115

3

19

109,354

 

*Steam is used for heating and hot water