Energy Efficient Laboratory Equipment
Thursday, October 23
Hosted by the University of California
Laboratory equipment energy use constitutes between 10 to as much
as 50 percent of the total energy use in a lab (not including associated
cooling energy use). However, there has been little attention paid
to this as an area for efficiency improvements, partly because of
the real and perceived lack of energy-efficient choices in lab equipment,
and the lack of data on energy use characteristics of lab equipment.
The goal of this roundtable was to develop a clearer understanding
of lab equipment energy use and efficiency opportunities, and explore
potential avenues to encourage market transformation through purchasing
specifications that include efficiency criteria. The short-term
objectives for the roundtable are to:
Examine the needs and opportunities in laboratory equipment
efficiency, from the perspective of each participant (users
Discuss and develop a mid- to long-term strategy
Discuss the initial step of a scoping study
Determine Action items, including the role of each participant
and what each will be able to offer (time/effort, info., $,
Proposed Scoping Study
Develop representative inventory of lab equipment.
Conduct a pilot survey of various laboratories and compile an
inventory of lab equipment and its operational characteristics
(Labs21 has developed a survey form for this). The scope of
this activity may initially be limited to teaching laboratories,
since they are more likely to have standard (not custom) equipment.
Assess energy efficiency choices and opportunities.
Work with equipment manufacturers, university personnel, lab
designers, and other experts to determine the efficiency opportunities
for the equipment. In particular, identify the extent to which
there are functionally equivalent alternatives for each type
of equipment, and whether energy efficiency is a selection criterion.
This information will be used to prioritize the equipment inventory,
by areas of greatest impact. Anecdotal evidence suggests that
refrigeration equipment is probably the most appropriate equipment
to start with, given its history of efficiency improvements.
- Determine efficiency metrics and identify testing protocols
Take into account peak demand and total energy use. This will
be done in consultation with equipment manufacturers. The need
to develop new testing protocols, if any, will be identified.
- Assess alternative approaches to purchasing specifications
This assessment will take into account data availability, schedule,
and level of effort. Three approaches will be explored:
- Labeling based on benchmarking (e.g. EnergyStar)
- Features-based approach (e.g. presence of sleep mode);
- Requiring efficiency data to be submitted as part of bid documentsfor
use as one selection criterion (for example, based on life-cycle
cost as the sum of purchase price and lifetime energy operating
While this approach does not explicitly specify criteria, it does
help develop a database of efficiency data that can in the future
be used to develop criteria.
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