LEAF Lab Efficiency Assessment Framework

Tags: laboratories | LEAF

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Laboratories are extremely energy intensive, and consume huge amounts of materials (use 5-10 times more energy than typical non-lab areas). A group of universities are working together to pilot a new tool – LEAF – to address these areas, as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

What is LEAF?

LEAF is a tool which has been developed by UCL with KCL support, to facilitate improving the sustainability of laboratories (e.g. chemistry, biology, IT, etc.). It contains criteria to achieve Bronze, Silver, or Gold awards. Criteria focus on areas such as procurement & waste, equipment, ventilation, samples and chemicals, people, and research quality.

A key feature is that it allows you to quantify your savings, in pounds and carbon. This data is generated to facilitate further improvements all around – for users to share with their colleagues, for sustainability managers to share with senior management, and for the laboratory sustainability sector to baseline itself.


Some key features of LEAF for users include:

  • Little to no evidence required
  • Few criteria total, which are sequential, and are goal-focused (as opposed to method-focused)
  • Includes criteria on research quality, in recognition that a repeated experiment is the ultimate use of resources! Aligns with researchers interests, as reproducibility comes to fore of research strategies

The LEAF tool is being piloted a wide group of international research-intensive universities. The goal is to evidence the impact from a wide group of universities, to show that local efforts do make a difference. The group will present this data to research funding bodies, in hope they will use this data to help drive sector-wide sustainable research.  

For further information, contact LEAF