Benchtop lab equipment
Read tips on sustainable use of common lab equipment, and how to buy and use the most efficient equipment. The Sustainable Campus Fund can help you purchase more efficient lab equipment.
- Video: Benchtop equipment (Lab Sustainability Webinar, March 2021)
- Benchtop equipment (Lab Sustainability Webinar, March 2021)
Benchtop equipment is incredibly varied across our different scientific laboratories, but in general, equipment which has a motor, heating element or cooling function can have a substantial energy impact.
Put in place a booking system to allow multiple users to use the same equipment at the same time, providing they require the same settings (e.g. incubators/shaker incubators).
Always make sure you use the right size equipment for your task. Many items of lab equipment come in different sizes (e.g. incubators/shaker incubators, water baths, heater blocks). Using an item that is bigger than you need can waste a lot of energy.
Switch off equipment when not in use, especially at night and at weekends.
Check on Warp It, the University's online reuse platform, or directly with colleagues, before purchasing new equipment. There may be an opportunity to borrow or adopt a colleague’s equipment.
Join Warp It
Use wipe-clean marker cards to help other lab users know when you need to keep equipment running unattended. It also helps with sustainability as lab users can be confident to switch off unattended equipment which has no marker card. Contact us to request these.
Use timer plugs to help efficiently control equipment that has predictable hours of use and/or long warm-up times (e.g. drying ovens and water baths).
Contact us to request these at SRS.Department@ed.ac.uk.
Compare what you do to our lab equipment best practice for common items of lab equipment.
This is also covered in the lab sustainability training presentation video above.
Read our sustainable laboratory equipment metering, procurement and operations guide to make sure you are buying the most efficient equipment and using it efficiently.
It was co-authored by various lab sustainability professionals across the UK, including the University of Edinburgh.
Apply for the Sustainable Campus Fund
In many cases, new equipment is substantially more efficient than old. The Sustainable Campus Fund can be used to support purchases of efficient equipment.