University Sustainability and Green Laboratories

Date Tuesday, May 05, 2009, 13:00 - 17:00
Location Hannover Auditorium, Building 20, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
Organizers Steen Gammeltoft, Glostrup Hospital. Co-organized with Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

Meeting abstract

Research laboratories typically consume 3-8 times energy per m2 as offices and classrooms, and there are many opportunities for conservation. Open fume hoods can waste the energy of one or two homes, as can one large electric autoclave left on overnight. Lights and ovens sometimes remain on around the clock, valuable equipment sits idle for years, and unopened chemicals are discarded as hazardous waste.

The symposium presents efforts and strategies in USA and Europe towards sustainable universities and green laboratories. They encourage the exchange of knowledge and experiences in laboratory design, engineering and operations leading to energy efficient and environmentally sustainable practices. While design advances promise lower energy consumption, the occupants still matter a lot. The strategies often work by connecting the interests of graduate students, undergraduate assistants, post docs, faculty, safety personnel and operations staff.

 Final program

13.00 – 13.40

Philip Wirdzek, International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories, Annandale, Virginia, USA: Laboratories for the 21st Century – A US Initiative for Sustainable Laboratories.

13.40 – 14.20

Allen P. Doyle, Office of Research Management & Planning, University of California Davis, USA: Sustainability Begins in the Lab: Scientists can be Green too.

14.20– 15.00

Paul Lodewijckx, Directorate Technical Services, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium: Sustainability and minimal budgets. Belgian lessons from the owner/user side.

15.00 - 15.20

Coffee

15.20 – 15.50

Jonna Bjuhr, Unit for Environmental Management, Gothenburgs University, Sweden: The sustainable laboratory.

15.50 – 16.20

Jenny Forshuvud, Centre for Environment and Sustainability, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden: Education for Sustainable Development at Chalmers.

16.20 – 17.00

Peter James, Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement  and Labs21 UK Project, University of Bradford, UK: Safe, Successful and Sustainable - UK Experience in Achieving Laboratories with High Performance for Users and the Environment.

17.00 – 18.00

Refreshments

Everybody is welcome. Admission is free. Registration is required.

Abstract

Laboratories for the 21st Century – A US Initiative for Sustainable Laboratories

Phil Wirdzek, International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL),  Annandale, Virginia, USA. philwirdzek@cox.net

Laboratories for the 21st Century, or Labs21, evolved from energy efficiency efforts of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its own laboratory facilities during the mid-1990s.  These initial efforts formed the basis to challenge the accepted "hands-off" and conservative approach to lab design and engineering for energy efficiency. The initiative gained momentum politically leading to an Executive Order in 1999 requiring federal laboratories and other high technology US government facilities to implement energy efficiency improvements.

With this energy and new environmental imperatives, Labs21 grew as a partnership program within government, spreading into US industry and academia.  Now having gained a strong level of participation nationally, the program is attracting many international governments and organizations to share their experiences and interests.  As a result, the EPA and Department of Energy partnered with I2SL to meet this international interest and help expand the goals of Labs21.

I2SL is therefore reaching out internationally to encourage the exchange of knowledge and experiences in laboratory design, engineering and operations leading to energy efficient and environmentally sustainable practices consistent with the goals of Labs21.  Furthermore, I2SL is expanding the focus of Labs21 to address other high technology facilities including data centers, healthcare, pilot plant manufacturing, and nano-research.  I2SL believes the international concern for energy and environmental sustainability requires global partnerships to ensure these facilities are designed and operated to address these objectives.  Failure to satisfactorily deal with these needs will only lead to economic decline and an inability to participate in a global economy.  

Sustainability Begins in the Lab: Scientists can be Green too

Allen Doyle, Office of Research Management & Planning, University of California, Davis. apdoyle@ucdavis.edu

Research laboratories typically consume 3-8 times energy per square foot as offices and classrooms, and there are many opportunities for conservation. Open fume hoods can waste the energy of one or two homes, as can one large electric autoclave left on overnight. Lights and ovens sometimes remain on around the clock, valuable equipment sits idle for years, and unopened chemicals are discarded as hazardous waste. As noted by a journalist from Science, it was ironic that scientists would be so remiss in conservation.

While design advances promise lower energy consumption, the occupants still matter a lot. When looking at most sustainability websites, laboratories rarely make the front page. At the University of California we started a lab assessment program that found many conservation opportunities as well as isolated and inspiring actions to conserve resources. In the LabRATS program we developed about ten initiatives to save energy, money, water, carbon dioxide emissions, disposable plastic, mercury, electronics and chemicals valued in hundreds of thousands of dollars. The strategies often work by connecting the interests of graduate students, undergraduate assistants, post docs, faculty, safety personnel and operations staff.

Sustainability and minimal budgets. Belgian lessons from the owner/user side.

Paul Lodewijckx, Directorate Technical Services, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. paul.lodewijckx@tech.kuleuven.be

At the Catholic University of Leuven, there is a long tradition in building with very restricted budgets (1200 euro/m² for offices, 1700 euro/m² for biotech labs, all in). Of course this doesn’t mean that sustainability is a non-issue but it does ask for a well considered approach. The presentation wants to focus on how we, at our university, from the owner/user-side, try to contribute on and sometimes even dictate sustainability discussions in our building projects.

The sustainable laboratory

Jonna Bjuhr, Unit for Environmental Management, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, jonna.bjuhr@gu.se

University of Gothenburg was one of the first universities to sign the COPERNICUS charter for sustainable development in 1993. The University thus committed itself to sustainable development in research, education as well as environmental management, i.e. purchase, waste disposal and chemicals etc.

University of Gotenburg began to implement an Environmental Management System during 1998 and 1999 according to the recommendations given by the Swedish government, first in "Ecological sustainability" (1997) and "Integrating environmental issues in Governmental Organizations" (1996). The tradition of research on sustainable development is well founded within the university and is one of the university’s foremost strength. An estimation concluded that more than 230 researchers are involved in research for sustainable development. The research fields varies from environmental economics and risk management to climate change chemistry and physics.

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability, "GMV", in Göteborg, Sweden is a network organization at Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg. We promote research and education for sustainable development. GMV creates and encourages research projects and multidisciplinary initiatives. Co-operation with the business community in western Sweden as well as the provision of information and education to the general public are part of GMV’s brief. Both research and training are firmly founded in existing scientific disciplines. Almost 500 scientists and about 480 representatives from industry, local authorities and other environmental organizations, are involved in GMV’s research network.

Education for Sustainable Development at Chalmers

Jenny Forshuvud, Centre for Environment and Sustainability, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. jenny.forshufvud@chalmers.se

Sustainable Development is one of the key prioreties at Chalmers and all students are required to take a 5-point course in Sustainable development. Every year all new Chalmers students are greeted with a welcome lecture on the theme of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Students who have a special interest in environmental issues have the possibility to create there own environmental "profile" by choosing among a large number of courses on theme of environment and sustainability. Just about all engineering programmes at Chalmers offer an environmental profile to final-year students.

Chalmers also offers a number of international Master’s Programmes in Sustainable Development. For example: "Design for sustainable development", "Environmental Measurements and Assessments" and "Industrial ecology - for a sustainable society".

Safe, Successful and Sustainable - UK Experience in Achieving Laboratories with High Performance for Users and the Environment

Peter James, Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement (HEEPI) and Labs21 UK Project, University of Bradford, UK:  peterj@dsl.pipex.com

This presentation a) highlights changing regulatory and stakeholder demands with regard to laboratory environmental performance in the UK and Europe, and b) describes current energy performance in HE laboratories, based on benchmarking around 100 facilities. It will be illustrated with details of some recent UK laboratory developments.

The first section will briefly outline five recent or forthcoming developments which are currently driving improvement in laboratory energy and environmental performance: 1) a new fume hood standard, CEN 14175, which moves away from fixed ventilation norms in favour of a risk assessment approach which is enabling fume cupboard face velocities to be safely reduced by up to 50% from previous norms; 2) a requirement to calculate and publish the energy consumption of laboratory (and other) buildings, which will soon enable external benchmarking of performance; 3)  a requirement on universities and other service institutions to manage and minimise carbon emissions, in part by participation in ‘cap and trade’ schemes; 4) the annual publication of a ‘University Green League’; and 5) the modification of an existing UK building assessment scheme (BREEAM – the UK equivalent of LEED) to better reflect the special circumstances of laboratories.

The second section summarises the outcomes of regular benchmarking exercises on around 100 UK university laboratories, of a range of different types. The raw data produced has been useful in highlighting an unexpectedly wide spread of performance. The scheme adds further value by running workshops where institutions who have submitted data can discuss its significance with peers. This ‘benchlearning’ process has helped to clarify the reasons for performance differences, and highlighted the actions

Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement project (see www.heepi.org.uk) is a networking and technical guidance project which provides environmental support to British universities. HEEPI has worked with US Labs 21 to develop a British sustainable laboratories programme (see www.labs21.org.uk), and has recently received funding for a larger scale initiative, in the UK. It is hoped that this will lead on to an EU project. Peter has published extensively on environmental accounting; green technology; and high performance buildings, and has been a member of the European Commission’s Expert Groups on Environmental Technology, and IT and Energy Efficiency.