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Sustainable Laboratories

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of all our activities. In 2017/18 laboratory activities were the fourth biggest carbon impact of the University’s scope 3 emissions. In addition, laboratories typically consume 3-10 times more energy per square metre than typical academic spaces.

LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework)

The University participates in the LEAFLink opens in a new window initiative, designed by UCL that facilitates and drives improvements in laboratory efficiency. LEAF allows laboratories to work towards a defined standard, bronze, silver or gold levels, and contains criteria which lab users can implement around areas such as waste & recycling, equipment management, procurement, and more. It addresses reproducibility and research quality as key efficiency targets, in recognition that reproducible science is sustainable science.

A key feature of LEAF is that it allows participants to estimate the impact of changes in financial and carbon terms with user-friendly calculators.

LEAF is open to both staff and students working in laboratories, including research or teaching facilities.

To get involved during 2023/24 contact Katherine Mayfield or Lesley Ward. The submission deadline will be in April 2024 with audits taking place in May/June and awards being issued in July.

Why participate?

Here are the thoughts of Cleidiane Zampronio Chief Technician, WPH Proteomics Facility RTP:

‘I learned a lot when I submitted the LEAF bronze award in 2020 and I'm thinking about trying for the silver award this year. We still have a long way to go, labs consume a lot of energy, and we use so much plastic that cannot be recycled as yet. However, if we look carefully, we will always find areas that can be improved and make our laboratory more sustainable. Ultimately, I believe that small steps will make a huge difference. For example, we were able to reduce some of our consumables by improving sample preparation; we saved energy by switching off computers and equipment that didn’t need to be on all night; we also found a new home for one of our old mass spectrometers.’

To see the outcomes, please click here for 2020/2021 academic year, here for 2021/2022 academic year and here for 2022/2023 academic year.