People who work in the lab know the saying: “Never change a running system”. If a method works, please do not change anything. Otherwise the results are no longer comparable – that’s absolutely right!
In my presentations and workshops, I regularly receive the following feedback: “What you’re showing is interesting and absolutely right, but we cannot really change our routines. Our methods are established. As an analytical laboratory we do not have much flexibility and we have to stick to prescribed test methods. We already do what’s feasible …” On the other hand, the consumption of resources is enormous: a laboratory building requires 3 – 5 times as much energy as a normal office building, freezers and fume hoods require on average as much energy as a single-family house, and a study from California in 2015 estimates that the consumption by laboratory equipment alone (without fume hoods!) in the laboratories requires as much energy as 230,000 households together – in terms of population, this corresponds to a medium-sized city, such as Freiburg.
The silver lining is that a lot is happening right now! Who would have thought a few years ago that there would be a label for environmentally friendly and sustainable devices or consumables? In the time since then, two labels for sustainable instruments and consumables have been established. And if you count the “energy star” for laboratory refrigerators and freezers from the USA, there are now even three sustainability labels on the market. And if you look around, you will see more and more “Green Lab” groups that are addressing the issue of sustainability. This is wh I’ve started this blog: I would like to further increase the visibility of the topic, show initiatives that are already implementing a great number of things today, and provide tips for everyday life. Because even small actions make a difference!
And because it’s not just the lab employees who contribute to more sustainability, but also the companies that provide solutions, I will keep adding one or two articles on how sustainability can be implemented in companies. Stay tuned …