Environmental impact assessments of lab activities

SV Sustainability assesses the environmental impacts of the school’s laboratories and core facilities, primarily their greenhouse gas emissions.

Laboratory research activities are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. We measure and quantify these emissions and other environmental impacts to better understand how to reduce our school’s footprint.

CO2 Calculator

The CO2 Calculator estimates the carbon footprint of life sciences laboratories at the level of the individual lab. This tool is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

More information about the CO2 Calculator

Life-cycle assessment of the Center of PhenoGenomics (ZEG, 2019)

In 2019, the Center of PhenoGenomics underwent a life-cycle assessment, conducted by Zero Emission Group, based on a previous assessment conducted by Quantis in 2012. This analysis assesses the climate change, ecosystems and human health impacts of the rodent housing and washing facility. Results are compiled in this executive summary.

Environmental impact assessment of solvent recycling

The Histology Core Facility owns a solvent recycling machine, which separates ethanol from xylene. An environmental impact assessment was conducted to estimate the carbon footprint reduction resulting from the manufacturing and use of this machine, compared to disposing of the waste chemicals and purchasing new solvents. The study identified that recycling 4 liters of ethanol and 4 liters of xylene per week saves the platform approximately 150 kg of CO2 emissions per year. 

Carbon footprint of refrigeration equipment

In our efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of the school, it is essential to integrate the electricity consumption of the laboratories. Among the main contributors to this source of emissions are refrigeration equipments at +4°C, -20°C and -80°C, which are heavily used in life sciences research.

SV Sustainability conducted a carbon footprint of refrigeration equipment in order to understand its climate impact. This study revealed several points:

  • -80°C freezers have the most significant impact.
  • It is generally wise not to replace equipment while it is still working, except for some older -80°C freezers.
  • Depending on intended use, a temperature of -70°C may be acceptable, thus considerably reducing the electricity consumption of -80°C freezers.

The study also considers emissions from the production of the equipment and the fugitive emissions from refrigerants.

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SV 3811 (SV Building)
Station 19
CH-1015 Lausanne