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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 2022/23 contact Katherine Mayfield or Lesley Ward. The submission deadline will be in April 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.’

Outcomes of the 2021/22 submission period:

Bronze Silver Gold
Bonlab, Chemistry Becer, Chemistry Pike and Brinkert, Chemistry
Crop Centre, SLS C123 Wellington- Albert, SLS Scott, Chemistry
CSRL ground floor, WMS Genomics, SLS  
Gibson, Chemistry Perrier, Chemistry  
Gibson, WMS Perrier, SLS  
Haddleton & Wilson, Chemistry Proteomics RTP  
Macpherson, Chemistry    
McAinsh, WMS    
Polymer RTP    
Spectroscopy RTP    
Ward, Chemistry