The following is information on water consumption practices commonly used in labs and equipment with water-saving potentials. Links to the labels UCI Green Lab distributes and highly encourages labs to utilize are also available here.
Download a one-page information sheet about water conservation here.
Efficient Water Use
- About 3 gallons of water is consumed to make 1 gallon of deionized (DI) water. Limit the use of DI water to experimental purposes, and rinse bulky glassware or equipment with regular tap water before utilizing DI water for the last stage of rinsing. Click here for additional information on laboratory cleaning protocols from Lab Pro.
- A faucet leaking at a rate of 1 drip per second is equivalent to 3,000 gallons of water per year or about 180 showers. Immediately report any leaking faucets or freezers by submitting repair requests at Facilities Management or call (949) 824 – 5444.
- Installing low-flow aerators can reduce the flow rate from the standard 2 to 3 gallons per minute (gpm) to 1.5 to 0.5 gpm, which is considered a water-saving rate based on EPA standards.
- Aerators introduce air into the flow to reduce water output without disturbing water usage productivity. Labs without aerators or with outdated aerators are suggested to have new aerators installed.
Autoclaves and Sterilizers
- Autoclaves utilize pressurized and high-temperature steam to sterilize laboratory equipment and glassware. A standard autoclave can use around 30 – 50 gallons of water per day to produce steam, depending on lab requirements. However, the major consumption of water is when autoclaves are in standby/ready mode. Standby/ready mode uses more tap water to cool steam below 140 F before discharge. Energy is consumed to heat the steam and power a vacuum pump to regulate chamber pressure for improved sterilization. Click here for more information on how autoclaves function.
- Most laboratories keep autoclaves in standby/ready mode in preparation for the next cycle, however, sustainable practices can be taken without interfering with lab performance. Utilize these sustainability practices to achieve water saving potential:
- Turn off autoclaves over the weekends or install automatic shut off features.
- Only utilize autoclaves with consolidated or full loads.
- Invest in energy and water-saving autoclaves when starting a lab or refurbishing a current lab. Click here for tips to consider new autoclaves.