UZH makes its laboratories more sustainable

Zurich – The University of Zurich (UZH) is taking part in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF). This is where opportunities to reduce emissions and energy consumption are implemented. The first nine laboratories at the university have already received LEAF certification.

Research in its own laboratories is responsible for a large part of the University of Zurich's environmental impact, explains UZH in a press release. It aims to reduce this environmental impact by participating in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework. The certification program developed by University College London sets out strategies for saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the start of a corresponding pilot program in November 2023, 27 UZH laboratories have expressed interest in participating, writes the university. On June 6, nine laboratories were awarded six LEAF certificates according to the bronze standard, one certificate according to the silver standard and two certificates according to the gold standard. In total, the participating laboratories have already avoided 15 tons of greenhouse gas emissions between November 2023 and May 2024.

The greatest savings potential was identified in the handling of the approximately 500 ultra-low temperature freezers in the laboratories. "LEAF gave us the decisive impetus to finally clean up and catalog our -80 degree Celsius freezer," PhD student Maria Reichenbach from the Sigel Lab is quoted as saying in the press release. "Within a week, we had not only successfully mastered this task, but also raised the awareness of all team members for careful use of the available storage space."

UZH's participation in LEAF was initiated by the GreenLab Zurich group. Postdocs, doctoral students and lab managers from UZH and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich are active here. ce/hs

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