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Sustainable Labs

At the University of Leeds, we are committed to integrating sustainability across education, research, and operations. As places of innovation and discovery, our outstanding laboratory facilities allow research to thrive. However, laboratory activity consumes around 5-10 times more energy per square meter than typical academic spaces and can produce large amounts of waste. There’s a real need – and opportunity – to tackle this and reduce the negative environmental effects of laboratories on campus and beyond.  

Our laboratories play a key role in embedding sustainability across the whole institution, as highlighted in our Net Zero Delivery Plan. Our Sustainable Labs programme aims to support staff and students to improve sustainability in labs, reducing waste, resource and energy use and embedding sustainable behaviours. 

Sustainable Labs Resource Hub

Staff and students at the University of Leeds can access our Sustainable Labs Resource Hub. This comprehensive library of guidance covers a range of topics addressing sustainability in labs, including waste, energy, water, and green chemistry.  

The Sustainable Labs Resource Hub is hosted on Sharepoint and is available to all with a University of Leeds login. Staff can also join our Sustainability Community on Teams which has a dedicated Sustainable Labs channel to share best practice, ask questions, and collaborate with other lab-based colleagues. 

LEAF; Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework

Logo of a test tube with a leaf in front of it. The text says Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework

We use the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF),  a tool developed by University College London, to help researchers, staff and students understand and improve the sustainability and efficiency of their laboratories.

LEAF contains criteria that lab users can implement around areas such as waste & recycling, equipment management, procurement, and energy. The criteria are based on actions that have already been proven to work in other laboratories. A key feature of LEAF is that it allows you to quantify your impact in both financial and carbon savings using integrated calculators. 

LEAF is intended for use in any of our labs, including teaching, research, and NHS areas. Anyone who works in a laboratory can sign up and start working through the criteria; we recommend introducing LEAF at lab meetings so everyone in your group is informed and can contribute to implementation. 

A dedicated team of LEAF Peer Auditors, including technicians, researchers, and students from labs across campus, collaborate to review all LEAF award submissions, and once approved, your lab will receive a personalised certificate to display in your lab. You can find out more about our LEAF Peer Audit team on the Sustainable Labs Resource Hub and please get in touch if you’d like more information about joining us. 

If you would like to learn more about how to sign your lab up to LEAF, please visit the LEAF pages on the Sustainable Labs Resource Hub for more information and to download our Quick Start Guide, or alternatively, please fill in this form and someone from our Sustainable Labs team will be in touch.

 

Our LEAF Laboratories

Bronze

  • Davies Lab – FBS
  • Dixon Lab - FBS
  • Lukacs Lab – FBS
  • Plant Growth Suite – FBS
  • Plant Nematology Group – FBS
  • Radford/Brockwell/Calabrese – FBS
  • 3.14/Beales - FEPS
  • ChemLab 1.33 - FEPS
  • Engineering Teaching Lab – FEPS
  • Meldrum Kim Lab – FEPS
  • Menzel Chamberlain Lab - FEPS
  • MNP/BioNano – FEPS
  • MULTIForm Facility, G.03.a - FEPS
  • FS&N Research Labs – ENV
  • LIMR / LIRMM - FMH
  • Oral Biology – FMH
  • Tissue Culture 3 - FMH

Silver

  • CAPE Analytical Facilities – FEPS
  • Soft Matter Physics - FEPS
  • Med Chem Lab G39 - FEPS
  • iPRD - FEPS

Gold

  • Bioimaging and Flow Cytometry Facility - FBS
  • Electron Microscopy Facility - FBS
  • Elton Zeqiraj Lab – FBS
  • PIXC – FBS
  • Chemistry Teaching Labs - FEPS
  • FS&N Teaching Labs - ENV

In development

  • Animal Sciences Group - FBS
  • Beatrice Filippi Lab – FBS
  • Darren Tomlinson Lab - FBS
  • The Environmental Variation Group – FBS
  • FBS-iMBE – FBS
  • Garstang 9 - FBS
  • Membrane Group - FBS
  • Mass Spectrometry Facility - FBS
  • NMR Facility – FBS
  • O’Neill Lab - FBS
  • Stockley/Herod Lab – FBS
  • Wu Lab - FBS
  • 1.06 – FEPS
  • ChemLab 1.49 – FEPS
  • Geography Labs - ENV
  • Flow Cytometry and BioImaging - FMH

Blogs

Success at the Sustainable Labs Roadshow

Ashley Victoria is a Student Sustainability Architect working on a project to support sustainability in laboratories at the University of Leeds. Her role included supporting...

Ashley talks sustainable labs and single use plastics

Last year I began my role as a Student Sustainability Architect, where I was tasked with exploring the use of single-use plastics (SUPs) in laboratories...

Choose to reuse - alternatives to single use plastic

Perhaps you carry a refillable water bottle in your bag, pack your shopping into reusable bags at the supermarket, or nab a discount for using...

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News

Sustainable Labs programme reaches new milestone 

The Sustainable Labs programme has reached an important milestone, with 50 labs from 11 different schools and four faculties now signed up to the LEAF...

Sustainable Labs On Tour

The Sustainable Labs programme is launching a roadshow tour of campus in January and February 2024 to promote engagement with sustainability in labs across the...

Labs awarded Silver and Gold LEAF awards

Congratulations to the five University labs that have improved their LEAF status after an audit this summer!   The Electron Microscopy Facility has moved to...

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our sustainable labs work is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.