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Be innovative. Spark change.

Below you’ll find best practices and strategies to help you promote conservation and environmental  stewardship within your research lab.

Conserve Energy. 

  • Always close lab fume hood sashes when not in use and save up to 50,000 lbs of CO2 per year.
  • Turn off lights, equipment, and appliances when you leave the lab. Contact for a "lights off" reminder decal for your lab.
  • Plug equipment into a power strip and switch off when not in use.
  • where possible, use tasking lighting to focus light only where you need it.
  • Use energy efficient bulbs in task lighting (like compact fluorescent or LED).
  • If purchasing new equipment, choose energy efficient features, such as timers on autoclave heaters or ovens.
  • Take advantage of natural light by adjusting blinds throughout the day.
  • Check labs for updated lighting fixtures (T8 or T5 electronic ballasts for linear fluorescent lighting and LED-lit exit signs), and if needed, submit a work order.
  • Energize yourself by taking the stairs when feasible.

Conserve Water. 

  • Use shut-off valves or timers on autoclaves and sterilizers to turn off when not in use.
  • If purchasing new equipment, choose water efficient features designed to recirculate water or allow flow to be turned off when not in use.
  • Adjust flow rates to minimum ones recommended by manufacturer.
  • Run dishwashers only when full and use environmentally-responsible cleaning detergents.

Prevent Waste. 

  • Minimize the amount of volatile chemicals in your lab. Order and store only what you need in the immediate future.
  • Reuse disposable plastics and glass items whenever possible. Take advantage of hand washing, solvent rinsing, or autoclaving to clean and reuse plastic and glassware.
  • Set your printer to duplex mode and reuse second chance paper.
  • Recycle old freezers and replace with more efficient ENERGY STAR® appliances. Aim to purchase an appliance at least 20% more efficient.


  • Use the blue bins in the hall to recycle your paper, bottles and cans. Click here to learn more about recycling at PSU.
  • Recycle or properly dispose of your chemicals, solvents, x-rays, batteries, light tubes, pyrex, or lab glass. Click here to submit a work order for Hazardous Chem/Bio Waste Pickup.
  • Donate unused materials to your department shop, so others don’t have to buy new materials as often.