Energy Conservation

The following is information on equipment commonly used in labs and their energy-saving techniques. Links to the labels the UCI Green Lab distributes and highly encourage labs to utilize are also available here.

Download a one-page information sheet about energy conservation here.

Switch Off Lights and Low-Use Equipment

  • Turn off lights in the main laboratory or storage rooms when not in use for more than 15 minutes. Refrain from turning lights on and off too frequently due to fluorescent lights life expectancy. Click here for additional information on Fluorescent Lights.
  • Smaller and less utilized equipment has more opportunities to be powered down and conserve energy when not in use. Implement a reminder system between lab members on which appliances can be turned off, ask before turning off, or never turned off.

Computers In Sleep Mode

  • Computers left on while not in active use before the computer enters sleep mode on its own is considered as energy wasted. Screensavers consume energy to display images while the computer is logged out, which is also considered as energy wasted. Click here for additional information on Computer Energy Saving.
  • Optimal energy conservation practices:
    • Set timers on computers to self-sleep after a long period of inactivity.
    • Power-off computers, including printers or scanners, during breaks or non-active periods between experiments.

Shut The Sash

  • UCI’s campus utilizes between 13,000 – 29,000 kWh of energy per year to power a single laboratory fume hood at the highest sash position. Although each UCI lab has fume hoods of various sizes, data shows UCI fume hoods’ energy consumption have decreased by around 60% at a lower sash position.
  • Fume hoods require energy to power the supply, exhaust fans, and to cool or heat supplied air from the outside environment. Shut the sash or lowering the sash position would decrease the amount of air the lab needs to supply the fume hoods to ventilate and increase ventilation speed. Click here for additional information on fume hoods and Shut the Sash program.
  • Closed fume hoods reduce noise pollution in the lab and enhance the protection of research materials, although fume hoods are not utilized as chemical storage. Lowering the sash to reasonable access during research purposes is meant for the researcher’s safety. Click here for tips on proper fume hood use.

Freezer Management

  • Labs operating with freezer storage at -80°C can consume between an estimate of 228 and 648 million kWh per year. Increasing the storage temperature to -70°C can conserve up to 1000 kWh of energy consumption.
  • Freezer condenser coils function as heat transfer surfaces to condense refrigerant and cool the contained space. However, dirty coils degrade cooling capacity and cause excessive energy consumption. Maintain cooling performance and extend equipment lifespan by having reminders to clean dusty condenser coils. Click here for more information on cleaning condenser coils.
  • Freezer performance can also be impacted by over storage and under storage. Encourage lab members to share empty freezer space with neighboring labs to minimize energy wasted and clean out packed freezer for safety purposes.