June 2017
University of Bristol

'Green Impact Labs' and efficiency in research grants

Green Impact Labs is the national environmental accreditation scheme for labs that provides a framework for researchers to improve their efficiency, reduce costs and environmental impact, as well as aligning them with relevant H&S regulations. Lab teams achieve a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum 'Green Lab Accreditation' each year. 2016/17 is our first year using the new framework (which is designed for lab groups rather than whole Schools), and we have an impressive 15 teams signed up! The awards ceremony will take place on September 15th at the Technical Conference which is held at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. Teams have until July 16th to complete the criteria and submit their online workbook, just in time for our undergraduate volunteers (Green Impact Labs Project Assistants) to conduct the final audits. If you think it’ll be too much work, or you haven’t got any extra time on top of your research, you can be assigned a GILPA to help you meet criteria as well as fill in the workbook. 

Contact Tanya Heravian (, our Green Impact Labs Supervisor for more information or if you'd like to sign up.

Read our blog article Integrating efficiency within research grants: should we start on our own turf? for more about the potential future of the environmental framework.

S-Lab Conference

We (Anna Lewis, Sustainable Labs Officer; Chris Jones, Energy Manager; Saranna Chipper-Keating, Research Technician) recently attended the S-Lab Conference at York Racecourse. S-Lab is an initiative that supports science research and enables discussion around efficiencies in lab equipment, facilities and behaviours. 

This year the conference was held in partnership with UKSPA (UK Science Park Association), meaning there was an additional focus on innovation and collaboration between universities and industry. Science incubators face many of the same issues as universities; how do we most effectively finance, design and operate our laboratories? 

We attended a range of sessions on building design, new technologies, and engagement programmes in other universities. For a fuller summary of the conference please read here.

Saranna is one of our keenest Sustainable Labs Leaders, and her colleagues at Southmead have been making strides in greening their labs. Here's what she had to say about the conference:

'As a Research Technician it was great to hear about the latest innovative products and lab designs, and to find out how these reduce energy consumption and environmental impact. There were so many interesting talks it was hard to choose which sessions to attend! My highlights included:
  • Seeing the design and building process of the GSK Carbon-Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Nottingham, which use natural ventilation, materials and all energy is provided by renewable sources.
  • Learning about how building design can positively influence research culture from the architects who designed the Life Sciences building here at Bristol.
  • Hearing how to win over researchers and lessons from grassroots green labs at the University of Chicago.
There were lots of opportunities to network with sustainability experts from other universities and laboratories and it was gratifying to know that we are doing the right things to be more sustainable in the lab!' 

Green grants

With a little thought, it's likely you can identify aspects of your research that are inefficient, whether it be a process, the equipment or the infrastructure. Sustainability can offer green grants to facilitate these projects because we know research grants are often overstretched. If there’s potential for a positive change in your lab that would reduce the amount of water or energy consumption, or produces less waste please get in contact. 

We can provide you with an initial upfront grant of up to 5 years worth of utility savings (energy/water/waste) for your project. You can conduct your own feasibility tests by calculating the green grants yourself

Drying cabinets, ultra-low temperature freezers, waterless condensers and chillers are just some examples of equipment replacements that have been made possible across campus due to green grants.

Equipment reuse

Duplicated, outdated, in need of repair. This is how we could describe a significant amount of lab equipment across our University. Why? Maybe you don't know how to dispose of or sell it. Or you don't want it to go to waste when it still has some life left in it. Or you might use it again, one day......

Taking the plunge and donating or selling old kit frees up much-needed space, brings in potential revenue, reduces waste disposal costs and increases our recycling/reuse rates. You don't have to feel guilty about scrapping working equipment, and the receiver saves on purchasing costs. 

If you have any donate-able kit, Unit DX, the newly opened science incubator near Temple Meads (containing academics from the University of Bath and the University of Bristol) is in need of some cost-efficient equipment. Please contact for more information on how to donate. 

The University is also piloting a lab asset resale company, UniGreenScheme. They will come and remove your equipment for you, refurbish or repair it if there is any value in doing so, and sell it. After removal and repair costs, you'll receive 50% of any profit. All without lifting (much) of a finger! However, it's important that we try and reuse equipment in-house first through our RE-STORE service. Guidance on how to use UniGreenScheme is here

Living Lab for Sustainability projects

A 'Living Lab' is, in essence, a project created by a student(s), an academic and a university estate. It enables collaborative research using real-world settings (the University estate), with the potential to directly apply the research to the estate afterwards. Examples from other institutions include:
If you're a student or member of staff with an idea for a project, you can submit project proposals relating to lab sustainability here.

We're reading...

Before you go…..

The next Sustainable Lab Network meeting is on Thursday 27th July. Please get in touch if you would like to join. 

We're looking for students and staff to volunteer at the Bristol Big Give.

Thanks go to.....
All our student volunteers, the Green Impact Labs Project Assistants (GILPAs) who've been conducting lab assessments across campus, as well as all the labs who've taken part.
Our mailing address is:

Website: Sustainable Labs UoB 

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University of Bristol · Sustainability · 1-9 Old Park Hill · Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BB · United Kingdom

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