Imperial College London

Help for Imperial labs to address their carbon footprint


Two people wearing lab coats, standing in a lab.

Prof Jason Hallett and undergraduate Bioengineering student Adele Wang in the Hallett Lab.

Imperial labs are being encouraged to take part in a new scheme to measure and improve their sustainability and save money at the same time.

Earlier this year four Imperial labs took part in a pilot of the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) with great success.

LEAF provides a defined sustainability standard for laboratories by recommending actions that lab users can take to reduce waste, energy, plastics and water. It allows labs to quantify savings, in both pounds and carbon. 

The second phase of the pilot is starting early 2020 and labs are being encouraged to register their interest in taking part.

In the LEAF pilot the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences received a silver award, with the Qatar Complex Porus Media Lab and Hallett lab scoring bronze. 

Taking part in LEAF gave us the momentum and guidance to make simple changes in our lab, reducing our impact on the environment. Dr Rosanna Young Freemont Lab, Dept of Infectious Disease

The Section of Structural and Synthetic Biology within the Department of Infectious Disease were also awarded a bronze award.

They achieved the criteria for the bronze award through a range of adjustments such as the decommissioning of an old freezer, improving waste streams to include more recycling options, and labelling equipment to show which should be switched off when not in use. 

Professor Paul Lickiss, the new College Academic Leader in Sustainability, said: "I'm determined to make Imperial a more sustainable institution across all its campuses, and, at a science-based university like ours it's important that we look at what's going on in our own individual labs as well as at wider initiatives.

"I'd really encourage all labs to find out more about the LEAF project and see what simple steps they can take both to improve their carbon footprint and to save money at the same time."

Neil Jennings, of Greening Imperial and Partnership Development Officer at the Grantham Institute, echoed this and said: "The pilot of LEAF was a success and we're looking forward to rolling it out to laboratories across College in 2020." You can register your interest for the second phase of the pilot in early 2020 here.


Rhys Purtill

Rhys Purtill
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