Green Gown Awards 2015 Facilities and Services - University of Edinburgh - Winner

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Sustainable laboratories – sharing best practice through peer learning

Laboratories are places where innovative research takes place and where global challenges are solved. But laboratories have a big environmental impact in terms of energy, water and waste.

Laboratories at the University of Edinburgh have committed to taking innovative measures to improve their environmental performance and share best practice with colleagues from across the University through undertaking peer to peer audits as part of the Edinburgh Sustainability awards.

Participants have developed unique projects, including: the first scheme in the UK to recycle scientists’ disposable gloves; efforts to manage and recycle pipette tips and; a project to recover and reuse helium. The audits have generated innovation and a genuine commitment from management and users to share and replicate best practice within their research laboratories, identified utility efficiency opportunities and has contributed towards the development of a strategic approach to sustainable laboratories across the University.

Top 3 learnings

1 Providing networking opportunities for colleagues to exchange ideas and visit peer laboratories is crucial to sharing and expanding best practice across our laboratories

2 We have managed to attract senior academics and management onto our sustainable laboratories steering group which has been crucial to accessing funding and raising the profile of our work

3 The audits have enabled our technical and academic staff to highlight the support they require from then University and influence our priorities in the sustainable laboratories implementation plan.