Reducing water usage in your lab

As well as a monetary cost, wasting water has an environmental impact too. It takes energy to pump and treat water and climate change is threatening water supplies.

Report any leaks to the Estates Helpdesk as soon as possible, to ensure they are fixed quickly. A dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year.

lad glass washer

Lab glass washing machines

Only use lab glass washing machines when they are full. This will reduce usage and water and energy consumption.

If you do not have enough glass to fill the washer, check the labs for more. 


Use chillers instead of water

Lots of lab equipment uses water to cool something. This will always use vast amounts of water, so can we do things differently?

Chiller units can be installed and set to a required temperature in a close loop system (constantly recirculating the coolant) thus not using any water. 

Replace water condensers with air condensers

Water condensers are used to cool evaporations from reactions in the lab with water. In a recent study in the School of Pharmacy, it was found that in five labs, using water condensers was wasting 1.3 million liters of water per year (about half the volume of an Olympic-size swimming pool).

The solution was to instead install air condensers, which consume no water and work by the air flow passing the condenser to cool the evaporate.

See case studies for more information. 


Water pumps 

Aspirator/venturi water pumps are used to curate a vacuum by water flow. This flow is normally turned on to the maximum, using around 390 liters of water per hour. Installing diaphragm pumps and pump controllers allows better vacuum control and uses no water. 

Upgrade from a lab water bath to a bead bath

Thermal metallic beads (Lab Armor) can replace water in any standard depth, non-circulating, and non-shaking lab water bath. Beads can also be used to replace water ice in ice buckets (you will need to keep the beads in a freezer before use). Water is no longer needed, the equipment experiences less wear and uses less energy. Lab Armor is available from several approved suppliers.  

Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD