Energy Efficient Laboratory Equipment Wiki

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Background and Purpose

I get really excited about scientists making
good choices for appliances and instrumentation.
I have no control over plug load.

—Campus Energy Manager

This website collects energy data on laboratory equipment with four goals:

  1. Give researchers purchasing information to select the most efficient equipment
  2. Give researchers information to use existing equipment with the least energy
  3. Stimulate manufacturers to supply efficient equipment
  4. Give laboratory designers realistic estimates of power consumption for different types of equipment.

Many scientists, lab managers, and laboratory design consultants are beginning to use energy efficiency as a selection criterion for lab equipment. Manufacturers are starting to advertise “green features” of their products, but it is often difficult to distinguish “green-washing” from actual energy-saving features. Most manufacturers do not publish more than nameplate voltage/current specifications, which are oftentimes not representative of actual power consumption. With these issues in mind, the Labs21 group seeks to provide a community maintained online database of equipment information through this wiki.

Scientists (in theory) are quantitative and well-informed about resource scarcity and the need for conservation, yet many do not act to save energy, water, plastics or equipment at their workplace. As scientists, we work at the forefront of discovery, public health, or technological breakthrough under stringent accuracy, cost, and time pressures, and we have important role in conservation. Scientists set the standard for accuracy; we also need to set standards for conservation. Laboratories use three to eight times as much energy as a typical office building, so there are many opportunities to conserve.

“Plug load”, or the things we plug into the walls and turn on, use 20-45% of total electricity. Purchase of this equipment is decentralized, and the technicians and graduate students making those purchases don’t have information to help make energy efficient selections. Although your company or university may have green purchasing guidelines, you may not know about them or how to implement them under tight time and performance pressures.

The Tool Lending Library from the Pacific Gas and Electricity Company in north California has helped collect many field measurements in this wiki. Check your regional utility company for similar programs and start your own data collection. Depending on the meter you use, you may need plug connectors with divided conductors to measure the current (Amps). The plug connector can cost about $50-75, depending on the type of NEMA plug and receptacle.

Using this Site

To see equipment energy use simply find the category of equipment you are interested in and browse the product pages. If you are not an editor but want to leave comments, you can participate in the discussion section of each page (look for the discussion button at the top of the page).

Each equipment page is ranked for completeness according to the following scale:
(4) - Information on energy use, efficiency/sustainability features, and user comments
(3) - Information on energy use and limited information in other areas
(2) - No energy use information, but some information on features and comments
(1) - Just feature information

The rank is in parentheses to the right of the title. This rank tells you how extensive the data is. Remember, this is "field data" collected by users who do their best to be consistent, but operating conditions will vary considerably, thus affecting measured energy consumption.

Data Submission and Editing Privileges

If you would like to submit data for posting on this site, you may fill out this survey for each measurement or piece of equipment monitored here. To review submitted data the contents of this site are moderated. Editors are limited to laboratory occupants and support staff. If you would like to be an editor, please create an account and then fill out our contact form. The labs21 group maintains the site and controls the creation of new pages. If you are already an editor on this site and need help starting a new page, see the help section.

Comments on Submitted Data

If you want to comment on best practices or submitted data for a piece of equipment, please do so at the "Equipment Type" level. Begin your comment with the brand and model # so future readers can trace comments about that equipment. This prevents multiple strands of comments at the lowest page level. While this site focuses on laboratory plug load and equipment, some comments may be best shared on the Google Group, "Green_Lab_Planning".

Equipment Types

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