Energy Saving in Laboratories

Laboratories use a lot of energy, some of which is essential for the lab to function, however there are ways that we can save energy. These tips can help reduce the amount of energy used by lab equipment but a fuller energy saving in laboratories guide (PDF: 114KB) is available.

Fume cupboards

  • Use the right sash height
  • Avoid using the fume cupboard as bench space (use it just for stages of the experiment that present a hazard)
  • Avoid using fume cupboards to store chemicals (use dedicated storage cupboard instead)
  • Try to store as many chemicals together (within safety constraints) to reduce the number of fume cupboards that need to be left on continuously
  • Make adequate preparations to equipment before the experiment has started so that the fume cupboard does not need to be switched on for as long
  • Lower the sash to the recommended height to maintain a purge volume
  • Use time switches to control cupboards
  • Manually switching off fume cupboards where appropriate


  • Ensure fully loaded (run multiple batches together)
  • Could they be used at night/ weekends? (reduce university max demand and use of comfort cooling/ fans while occupied)


  • If you have multiple incubators, can your work be organised so that one can be turned off?


  • Switch off when not in use – especially refrigerated models


  • Switch off when not in use

Refrigerated storage

  • Placed away from heat sources?
  • Correct temperature setting?
  • Seals ok?
  • Only open when necessary
  • Defrosted regularly?
  • Do all contents need to be kept?


  • When building is occupied, are sterilisers/dishwashers being used effectively?
  • Water heating/pumping activities
  • Analytical equipment

Computer equipment

  • Turn off the screen when leaving the computer for more than 5 minutes
  • Turn off the computer and all its accessory parts at the end of the day
  • Your computer will only receive Windows and Security updates during its shut down process; without this, the machine will become slower over time
  • Turn off printers and scanners when not in use