A sustainable Geolab

At Geolab, we take sustainability as a high priority and integrate sustainability practices in our day-to-day work. Recognizing that labs consume significantly more energy and water per square meter than office spaces and generate substantial waste, including hazardous, clinical, and single-use plastics, we are committed to seeking continuous improvements in sustainable practices. Our dedication to sustainability extends beyond environmental concerns; it also enhances efficiency, research quality, and safety.

We have recently embraced the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) program in our research groups, streamlining sustainable practices within our operations, reducing resource consumption, and stimulating innovative thinking and collaboration. Our holistic approach to sustainability encompasses:

  1. Energy-Efficient Equipment and Usage: We invest in energy-efficient lab equipment and appliances, and optimise their usage to run only when necessary.

  2. Green Chemistry: Implementation of green chemistry principles to minimize hazardous waste and improve reaction efficiency

  3. Circular Procurement: Sourcing lab materials and equipment with circularity in mind, favouring recycled and sustainable options.

  4. Waste Segregation: Rigorous waste segregation and proper disposal of hazardous, clinical, and plastic waste.

  5. Reusable Labware: Promoting the use of reusable glassware and containers to reduce single-use plastic waste.

  6. Energy-efficient data centre: using a process called Rear Door Heat Exchangers, cooling of the computers takes place using water-cooled doors which in return absorb the heat and transfer it to the university’s thermal storage system for campus-wide utilization.

  7. Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) facility installation enabling efficient year-round heating and cooling by utilizing the thermal inertia of the earth, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

  8. LED Lighting: Energy-efficient LED lighting installation to lower electricity usage.

  9. Sustainable Packaging: Opting for eco-friendly packaging for materials and supplies.

  10. Green Lab Design: Incorporating sustainable design elements in lab layout and infrastructure.

  11. Local Sourcing: Prioritizing local suppliers to reduce transportation-related emissions.

  12. Collaborative Sharing: Sharing resources and equipment among research groups to reduce duplication.

  13. Low-Emission Solvents: Using environmentally friendly solvents to lower air pollutants.

  14. Training and Education: Educating lab members about sustainable practices and their importance

Our ongoing commitment to sustainability reflects our ambition to advancing (geo)science responsibly while continuously working towards minimizing our ecological footprint in light of the climate crisis.

Additional information

For more information, please contact: sustainability.geo@uu.nl

More information on plastic recycling at Utrecht University: https://www.uu.nl/en/news/plastic-recycling-in-uu-labs

Energy savings in laboratories