Zero Emission Group: Research activities’ carbon accounting

We are a group of EPFL students concerned by the consecutive scientific reports on global warming, and we all share a strong willingness to mobilize our scientific expertise to address this issue. Through this project, the Zero Emission Group wants to produce a report that would serve as a support for the SV Faculty to extend the process to all laboratories and at the same time implement a series of measures to reduce the carbon impact of research activities.

Project description

After weeks of discussion with EPFL’s Sustainability Office and Life Sciences faculty (SV), the association Zero Emission Group (ZEG) is now assessing the life cycle assessment (LCA) of two laboratories part of the SV faculty (Oates Lab and Van der Goot Lab) on behalf of ZEG’s consulting division. Even if a global carbon accounting is already done over EPFL campus, some activities were not accounted because of the complexity of the assessment: the research activities. Indeed, the research activities are the missing piece of the puzzle aiming to describe exhaustively EPFL’s CO2 emissions. As the campus goal is to reach zero net emissions towards 2030, having an exhaustive estimation of what is emitted seems more than necessary if we want to know where to reduce emissions.

During 2020 spring semester, this missing piece led us, 10 EPFL students from different faculties and with different backgrounds, to the following challenge: can we, as EPFL students assess the LCA of EPFL’s research activities? The aim of our work here is to establish a methodology that will be applied to several departments of the Faculty and subsequently replicated in all of its laboratories.

Please, find more information about the association or the project in the intermediate report below:

Students involved: