The University now has a number of science-based courses that involve the use of laboratory and IT equipment. Vital equipment such as fume cupboards use a significant amount of energy (just one fume cupboard annually can use the same amount of energy as that consumed by a family home). Cupboards can often be left operating even when there are no experiments running. Here are some simple rules all lab users can follow:
- Only store samples that are wanted (reduce the demand for cold storage);
- ‘Shut the sash’ – when no one is working at a fume cupboard make sure the sash is closed fully;
- Ensure chemicals are returned to their proper storage place and not stored in fume cupboards;
- Switch off smaller electrical items and IT equipment when not in use.
Building Management System Upgrades
As part of our BMS upgrade at the Janet Lane-Claypon building, we implemented a system that will turn unused fume cupboards off overnight. Building management decides which fume cupboards need to run 24/7 and which will turn off automatically at the end of each working day. In addition, during the working day, lab technicians have to book in class sessions in order to turn fume cupboards on. New prominent signage on each fume cupboard indicates when it will switch off. Each fume cupboard that is run 24/7 throughout the year costs the university around £3,000 and it is hoped that this system will both reduce our carbon footprint and energy costs.