University of Leeds Priestley Laboratory
Priestley Lab after installation of new energy efficient fume cupboards (2014)

At the University of Leeds we are committed to embedding sustainability across the whole institution, integrating it with our approach to student education, research, and operational services. We recognise the value of laboratory spaces as being cradles of innovation, with Leeds offering world class facilities for research to thrive.

Laboratory research and the buildings which facilitate them consume 5-10 times more energy per square meter than typical academic areas. We see this as an opportunity to reduce the negative environmental effects of laboratories at our University and beyond.

LEAF – The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework

In 2020 we are piloting LEAF, which is a new tool developed by UCL to help researchers, staff and students understand and improve the sustainability and efficiency of their laboratories.

LEAF contains criteria which lab users can implement around areas such as waste & recycling, equipment management, procurement, and more. 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 savings and impact in pounds and carbon.

LEAF is intended for anyone working in a lab, including research, teaching, IT, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, Engineering and clinical spaces. This includes NHS areas. It is ideal for technical staff, lab management, PhDs and post-docs with an interest in sustainability, or anyone working around laboratories.

If you would like to take part in the LEAF pilot or want to know more about it please send us a message on our online form here.

2019 LEAF Pilot

The first LEAF national pilot took place last year, involving over 16 national Higher Education Institutions. Feedback from the pilot was good with 98% of participants saying they would use LEAF again. Carbon savings of 620 tonnes were recorded from this pilot, equivalent to taking 132 cars off the road.

More details on the first pilot are available on the UCL website or in this article from Universities UK.

Help us to develop LEAF and make labs everywhere more sustainable by taking part in the 2020 pilot.


If you are looking for the previous sustainable labs page it is available here.