Sustainable Labs

2022-23 achievements

This year, more labs were involved in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) scheme. 13 assessments have taken place, with 63 laboratories achieving bronze, 24 achieving silver and two laboratories achieving gold status.

LEAF is an environmental accreditation scheme designed to improve sustainability within higher education teaching and research. Participating laboratories are given environmental actions to carry out including across waste, energy, and procurement.

A full energy, condition and usage audit for all laboratory equipment was conducted across three buildings in Hammersmith and White City. This has given lab managers the vital information they need on energy and carbon savings through replacement and behavioural changes.

In August 2023, a Laboratory Resource Efficiency Advisor started in their position and in November 2023, a Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator will join the Estates team to help drive sustainable laboratory practices across the university, looking at best practice in energy efficiency, waste and water reduction and management, procurement opportunities and other areas.

Progress against targets

Increase laboratories engaged in a lab efficiency programme to 50% summer 2025 and 100% by summer 2026. (Green, on target)

10% decrease in energy consumption, water usage and wastage by August 2026. (Orange)

Forward look towards 2024

With the introduction of two new team members dedicated to laboratory sustainability, this year we will:

  • Create targeted energy efficiency communication campaigns to engage different laboratory users to be more conscious of high consuming equipment and where changes can be made to be more efficient.
  • Launch a laboratory kit fund from the central Sustainability Hub. The Lab Kit Fund will help drive the shift to sustainable laboratory equipment. More sustainable and efficient equipment tends to come with a higher initial price tag; this fund hopes to bridge that financial gap and enable groups to make the more environmental choice. Applications will be open to any groups looking purchase, replace or repair equipment.
  • Run the Freezer Challenge from January 2024 – 30 June 2024 to encourage best practice in freezer use and management and to reduce our cold storage energy consumption.
  • Continue to encourage and support laboratories to join a lab efficiency programme by developing a LEAF community of practice supported by the Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator.
  • Carrying out more energy, condition, and usages audits for laboratories across the university.

Further information

Examples of existing good practice

“Yearly lab clear-outs are considered opportunities to give equipment to other labs that may need it, rather than disposing of it or storing it for undetermined amounts of time”.

“ULT freezers increased from -80 to -70C saves 30% of energy”.

“Adoption of the Labcup system to cut down on range and quantity of chemicals used”.

Get involved

Learn more about our lab initiatives here.

To get involved, please email to receive the LEAF user guide to help you create an account and provide a step-by-step guide on how to register your lab via the online portal.