University of Bristol becomes first to land Green Labs Certification

The university’s laboratories account for 40% of its total energy usage, despite occupying only 6% of its physical space

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The University of Bristol has become the first academic institution in the world to be awarded Green Labs Certification through the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) programme.

Developed by University College London (UCL), the programme considers the direct environmental impacts of laboratory research – on average, laboratories are five times as environmentally intensive as office spaces in terms of their water, energy and chemical usage, as well as the amount of plastic waste they generate.

The university’s laboratories account for 40% of its total energy usage, despite occupying only 6% of its physical space.

All of its 990 laboratories have now gained certification, a move the university notes will make a significant contribution towards delivering on its commitment to reach net-zero by 2030.

Anna Lewis, Sustainable Science Manager at the University of Bristol, said: “There are clear environmental and financial benefits in choosing to be more sustainable in laboratories. Adopting more sustainable practices can fundamentally change institutions to become more environmentally friendly and we think our success with LEAF is a great example. We are in the midst of a Climate Emergency, so sustainability has never been more important or prominent than it is now.

“Having said this, we all have the power as individuals to make kinder and greener choices for the planet – whether that be inside or outside the lab. The journey towards institutional Green Lab certification has reminded us how sustainability-minded the university’s STEM community is and we are incredibly excited for more Sustainable Science and future Green Labs plans.”