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Energy Conservation In Laboratories

Laboratories consume a lot of energy. The amount of energy consumed in a lab facility is much more than the energy use of an average non-lab academic building. This is mainly because there are multitude of heated and cooled, one-pass air for ventilation and fume hoods; electrically operated fans, specialized lab equipment; and large quantities of water and process-chilled water. In addition, some laboratories use large quantities of natural gas. 

Technological advances in facility design resulted in considerable amount of energy savings in new constructed lab facilities. An example to this is computer controlled lab buildings. On the other hand, these energy saving initiatives are meaningful only when people in the lab help improve the energy conservation efforts.

Some of the very easy actions that may be taken to help reduce the energy consumption in the laboratory include:

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the lab during the day or at the end of every day. Putting a setback (turn off themselves after a few minutes) is an efficient alternative to this.
  • Before leaving the lab, make sure that you turned off all electrical devices if they’re idle.
  • Use timers to turn other pieces of equipment on and off automatically.
  • Turn off your computer's monitor when not in use.  The monitor consumes over half of the energy used by the average computer. Turning your computer's energy saving features on is an alternative to that.  
  • Keep the sash closed on your fume hood, especially if you have a Variable Air Volume (VAV) type fume hood.  This promotes both energy conservation and safety. Keeping your VAV hood sash closed can cut the air volume and cost by two thirds!
  • Rooms that are too hot or too cool may be due to faulty thermostats or other controls that are malfunctioning or have drifted from set points, resulting in wasted energy as well as uncomfortable conditions for you.  If you experience these problems, then contact LS or operational and technical services for assistance.
  • Report drips of water from sink taps, chilled water connections or reverse osmosis (RO) faucets.