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Labs awarded Silver and Gold LEAF awards

Sustainable Labs

Congratulations to the five University labs that have improved their LEAF status after an audit this summer!  

The Electron Microscopy Facility has moved to Gold accreditation, whilst the Med Chem Lab G39, iPRD, Food Science and Nutrition teaching labs and the Chemistry teaching labs have been awarded Silver LEAF status. 

LEAF (The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) is a standard developed by University College London, to help researchers, staff and students improve the sustainability and efficiency of their labs. This is through adopting a variety of sustainable practices, such as reducing plastics, water, energy and other resources. The impact of these actions is then quantified through financial and carbon savings. Bronze, Silver and Gold certifications are awarded, depending on the extent the lab has implemented different sustainable actions.  

Labs present an excellent opportunity to reduce energy consumption due to their high energy requirement, typically consuming 3-10 times more energy than typical non-lab areas. LEAF facilitates sustainable practice within labs, but also contributes to the University’s Climate Plan as on average a lab could save 2.9t CO2e and £3k per year.   

New developments to LEAF labs status 

Gold labs:

The Electron Microscopy Facility has newly been awarded the Gold LEAF accreditation after previously being Silver status.  

EM Facility Manager Dr Louie Aspinall says

I think that people would be surprised at how simple some of the changes can be that will have major long-term impacts on emissions within the workplace. However, there is a lot more which can be done throughout biological sciences to reduce our emissions whilst maintaining the high standards of scientific research that the University of Leeds is known for.

Silver labs:

Four labs have also moved from Bronze to Silver LEAF status. These are the Med Chem Lab G39, iPRD, Food Science and Nutrition teaching labs and the Chemistry teaching labs. 

Laura Wilkinson Hewitt, Sustainability Programme Officer leading on Sustainable Labs, has said

It is great to see increasing numbers of labs across campus engaging with the LEAF programme. Implementing LEAF is an extremely effective way to reduce carbon emissions, raise awareness, and improve the sustainability of our lab spaces. Our LEAF audits are mostly carried out by our engaged team of LEAF peer auditors, with particular thanks to Staff Sustainability Architects Mary Bayana and Faye Blinkhorne and Student Sustainability Architect Ashley Victoria, who have worked together to complete these audits over summer.

Every undergraduate student who passes through the School of Food Science and Nutrition and the School of Chemistry will now have practical classes taught in a Silver accredited laboratory, embedding sustainability into their experimental design and research practices from their first semester here at Leeds and throughout their research careers.   

If you would like to sign your lab up to LEAF, please sign up via our form. 

Alternatively, to find out more about Sustainable Labs and how you can get involved, have a look at the Sustainable Labs Resource Hub. 

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