Laboratories use three-to-eight times as much energy as a typical office building, so there is opportunity and impetus to conserve. Labs may use anywhere from 30 to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 75,000 to 800,000 Btu of natural gas per square foot annually. By changing your laboratory purchasing practices, choosing greener product alternatives, and implementing sustainable processes, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy and water consumption.


  • Potential energy savings of up to 50%
  • Increased competitiveness
  • Potential national annual energy savings of 84 trillion Btu, If all American laboratories reduced their energy use by 30%, according to US EPA estimates.
  • Reduced waste, eliminating costly remediation
  • Reduced plug loads
  • Savings in laboratory energy costs can allow for more budget for science research


Control Solutions
At Control Solutions, we’re experts who listen first, evaluate needs, and then devise a thorough, well-thought-out plan. The foundation for that plan is Tridium, the only open source solution for building and energy system control. The Niagara Framework® software platform adds functionality and a user-friendly interface, so your Control Solutions building management system will significantly reduce energy costs as it maximizes efficiencies in everything from lighting to HVAC and energy monitoring and commissioning.

Hurst Mechanical
Hurst Mechanical is a locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Hurst Mechanical partners with West Michigan companies to provide energy reduction services. Hurst offers energy benchmarking, energy audits, mechanical & electrical upgrades and a completely open web-based building management system. Hurst is an EPA Energy Star Partner, a trade ally of all utility providers in West Michigan and active in the local US Green Building Council.

LED Green Light
LED Green Light International is pleased to offer you a comprehensive and financially compelling LED lighting retrofit solution for your company’s space. LED GreenLight is prepared to provide you the industry’s finest LED lighting package option in a single turn-key solution.

Midwest Energy Group
Initial investment costs are a common detractor for implementing energy efficiency projects. At Midwest Energy Group, we help our customers finance projects through:

  • Utility rebate programs
  • Federal tax incentives
  • Shared savings agreements
  • Bank loans and leases
  • Performance contracts
  • Energy efficiency grants

Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program
Retired professionals are available through the Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) to assist Michigan businesses and institutions with pollution prevention. Each assessor has thirty to forty years of experience with Michigan industries. Businesses of 500 employees or fewer and institutions of any size are eligible.

Tools and Resources

Tools are provided to help you match resources to your laboratory needs. Resources below will help to facilitate:

  • Regulating computer and monitor energy use.
  • Regulating electrical and mechanical equipment.
  • Maintaining and managing heating equipment.
  • Regulating fume hoods.
  • Centralizing freezers, refrigerators, and common access storage.

Regulating Computer and Monitor Energy Use
The Microsoft link will show common questions on sleep and hibernation as it relates to computers and what each one does. It will also include a step-by-step process to change these settings on your computer.  Microsoft Windows

Regulating Electronic and Mechanical Equipment
Maintaining electrical and mechanical units can save money by avoiding expensive repairs or replacements. Powering down devices when not in use or powering them to a lower setting can also be useful. The above link shows some of the easy energy saving opportunities like shutting equipment down to long term commitments such as replacing specific lighting fixtures. Business Energy Advisor

In addition, Business Energy Advisor also provides calculators. for tracking a range of equipment from lighting to transformers, to water heaters. The Laboratory Energy Efficiency Profiler tool will enable users to identify energy efficiency opportunities in their laboratories. The Schneider Electric link provides four steps for improving energy efficiency in labs.  Laboratory Energy Efficiency Profiler tool (LEEP)

Maintaining and Managing Heating Equipment
Properly maintaining heating equipment will lead to a safer environment for personnel, save money on unnecessary repairs or replacements, and save energy. Turning off equipment when not in use or when possible will significantly reduce the energy usage of the lab and even contribute to a lesser footprint for the company. Here are a few links to show how to maintain heating equipment. This source is oriented around safety


Regulating Fume Hoods
Because there is a large volume of air being exhausted into the atmosphere, a single fume hood can use as much energy as three to four residential homes in a single day. The main issue with closing fumehoods or setting them to the minimum ventilation rate when unattended is education. A case study conducted by the University of California introduced stickers that were placed on the side of fumehoods to show how little or how too much energy was being used based on the height of the sash. This did decrease the amount of energy consumed, but even the case study admits that the biggest obstacle in decreasing energy through fumehoods is to reinforce the energy savings idea through worker training sessions/orientation.

US Department of Energy Fume Hood Sash Stickers

Shut the Sash campaigns This is Indiana University’s campaign

Centralizing Freezers, Refrigerators, and Common Access Storage
Freezers, refrigerators and common access storage can improve energy efficiency and savings by being placed in a central location. This allows multiple laboratories to share a freezer or refrigerator so that way the entire space of the equipment is being utilized instead of each laboratory having its own that never gets filled up. This is more about efficiently using space and potentially even sharing some of the supplies in the equipment, that way the laboratories can order supplies together instead of separately.

Labs21 case studies help to highlight sustainable features in engineering, architecture, and facilities management. Numerous facilities have implemented high-performance design features into new or retrofit laboratory projects. Each case study provides information on a variety of sustainable concepts in laboratory design. To view which technologies are exemplified in each case study, check the Labs21 Case Studies: Featured Concepts table (193 KB, 3 pp). In addition, the University of California Berkley and UCLA, provide case studies on ways to reduce energy used in fume hood operations.

One of the simplest ways to reduce the energy required by operating fume hoods is to ensure that the sash—the moveable pane in front of the fume hood that controls the exhaust flow from an experiment—is always in the lowest possible operating position. This simple action can in some circumstances lower the amount of energy used substantially and will in all cases provide for the safest working environment, even in cases where energy use is not reduced. Behavioral change programs to promote being mindful of sash heights have been dubbed “Shut-the-sash” (STS).

Works Cited and More Resources

Fume Hood Sash Stickers Increases Laboratory Safety and Efficiency at Minimal Cost:. N.p.: US Department of Energy, Mar. 2012. Pdf.

“Environmental Health & Safety || Section 7I: Laboratory Equipment.” Baylor University. Baylor University, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Indiana University.” Fume Hoods. Indiana University, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Laboratory Energy Efficiency Profiler Tool.” I2SL: Resources. International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Managing Energy Costs in Laboratories.” Business Energy Advisor. E Source Companies, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015. <;

Selvaggio, Frank. Energy Efficiency in Laboratories. N.p.: Schneider Electric, 2013.

“Sleep and Hibernation: Frequently Asked Questions.” Microsoft, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015. <;.