UCSF Sustainability Stories
Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, January 2014
Greening Up the Labs at UCSF—Act Quick for Rebate Program and Free Wash Rack
Did you know the Race to Certification includes all labs at UCSF? Your lab can now be certified as a LivingGreen Lab (LGL), helping the university save money and reduce its carbon footprint. The certification process assesses UCSF research laboratories and departments to identify areas where occupants can advance sustainability practices within their respective buildings. Part of the assessment includes a tool kit of FREE energy saving tools, such as timers, power strips, freezer brushes/scrapers and reminder stickers.
FREE Steris pipette washracks are being offered to the first two labs who request it!
Take the First Step
The first step is a walk through of your lab during which you will jointly complete a LivingGreen Lab checklist consisting of 30 items covering Zero Waste, Culture Shift, Water Conservation, Toxics Reduction and Carbon Neutrality. The list focuses on a range of specific actions that can be implemented in any lab, such as improving recycling systems, installing a Steris pipette rack, utilizing appliance timers on electronic equipment that would otherwise be left on, using CFL or LED-based light bulbs for task lighting and ordering only 50% or better Post Consumer Waste office paper. After the walk-through, the lab will receive a preliminary score along with a series of recommendations for improving it.
During the quarter following the preliminary assessment, the LivingGreen team will return to see what improvements have been made. After this review, a score will be given.
Pipette Wash Rack Program
If your lab is using glass pipettes, Steris racks that will allow you to wash your pipettes in a glass washer. Switching over to this method from the Nalgene system will save water and money.
If Genentech Hall installed 25 new Steris racks, it is estimated that over 11 million gallons of water per year would be saved, resulting in cost savings of over $51,000 per year. With UCSF’s initial investment of $1,600 per rack, this is a great deal for everyone involved.
Rebates! $400 for residential Refrigerators, $450 for -20C Freezers, and $5000 for -80C ULT freezers
A great way to save energy is to replace old, inefficient refrigerators with new efficient ones in an effort to reduce electricity consumption. If you have an old refrigerator/freezer (more than 10 years old) with leaking seals, that cycles on too much, or is just plain worn out, UCSF has a program that can help you replace it. UCSF’s sustainability office is offering rebates on the cost of a replacement unit selected from a list of energy efficient replacement models. Find out more from this flyer
Hurry! This offer expires when funding is exhausted in FY2014-15!
Install Aerators for Free
Chill Up: -70C is the new -80C
According to MyGreenLab, chilling up your ultra-low freezer from—80 degrees Celsius (C) to -70C has two major benefits: it can reduce energy consumption by 30% and in doing so it can prolong the life of your freezer. This means less down time, and less chance that your samples will be compromised.
The UC Davis Store Smart program, encourages researchers to use science-based storage guidelines for their samples by ultra-low freezer temperature tuning (raising the set point by 10 degrees Celsius or more) or storing DNA at minus 20 degrees Celsius. At minus 70C, there are examples of microbial cultures, proteins, yeast strains and cell lysates, among other sample types, being stored for years.
Use a Timer
Another easy way to reduce energy and waste in the lab is to identify equipment that does not need to run 24/7 and use a timer to turn the items off in the evening and back on in the morning. Items such as heating blocks and mixers can easily be plugged into one power strip and programed to automatically turn off at the end of the day.
The following labs have already been certified:
* The Diabetes Research Institute
* The Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration labs
* HSE5 - Valerie Weaver’s lab