January 2016
University of Bristol

Energy efficient drying cabinets

At the beginning of January we awarded the tender for drying cabinets to VWR who will be supplying the Genlab insulated unit. This drying cabinet uses up to 70% less energy that traditional models because:
a) It is insulated, which means it retains heat more effectively and doesn't feel hot to touch. 
b) It has a timer on it. Drying cabinets are often left on 24 horus/day unnecessarily, with a timer we can turn the oven off for 10 hours/day.   

We have identified around sixty old drying cabinets in Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry that Sustainability will replace. These new units are healthy to both the environment and the wallet and should pay for themselves in under four years whilst saving the equivalent of 73 tonnes of CO2. That's the same as taking 16 cars off the road or six households, just in two departments! 

If you have any old drying cabinets in your lab or department that you think might warrant a replacement, contact your technical team in the first instance who should then contact Anna Lewis, the Sustainable Labs Officer. 

Chilling up: phase II

Biomedical Sciences increased the temperature of their ultralow temperature freezers (ULTs) a couple of months ago which has seen energy savings of around 25%. Sustainability has repaired or replaced any inefficient ULTs in Biomedical and Langford Veterinary School. Throughout the next month both schools will be aiming to chill up all of their ULTs. 

Do you have a ULT freezer that still runs at -80C?
Do you think your freezer is old and might need replacing?
Please contact

It is very important to note that ULTs that are given a bit of TLC have longer lifespans and keep your samples more secure as a result. Regular defrosts, ice scraping and filter changes should be routine within your lab.

Re-using is better than recycling

This year we're focusing our efforts as a University on reuse. We're going to be re-manufacturing a lot more of our furniture, promoting RE-STORE and implementing the UniGreenScheme (lab equipment reuse). 

Last year, we recycled 83% of our waste as an institution but we want to RE-USE as much as we can. Samples that are delivered on dry ice arrive in polystyrene boxes that come with a free-post return label, in other words we can return it for free and for reuse, rather than paying to recycle it. 
In Biomedical Sciences alone we recycle nearly 4000 litres of polystyrene waste each week and around 40 returnable boxes. If you would like help setting up a regular collection of your returnable polystyrene boxes get in touch. 

Nominate a Green Labs Liaison

Synthetic Chemistry have led the pack and nominated a Green Labs Liaison for each group/lab. If you're interested in becoming a Green Labs Liaison or want to nominate someone in your group get in contact with the Sustainable Labs Officer to arrange an initial meeting in your lab.

What would I have to do as Green Labs Liaison?
  • Act as a point of contact to the Sustainable Labs Officer
  • Relay information to your lab/group
  • Get involved with Green Impact Labs (optional) and potentially win awards for your group


1) S-Labs workshop 29th February. This workshop is open to anyone who works in labs and is interested in sustainable solutions. Book a place here

2) Art contest. An opportunity to win a meal out by designing some art for Sustainable Labs UoB. More information here. 
Our mailing address is:

Website: S-Labs UoB 

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