The recent summer solstice officially marked the first day of summer and with it the promise of hot weather ahead. As you prepare for longer days and warmer nights, there are many ways to reduce your environmental impact, whether in your personal life or at work in the lab.
We’ve compiled two lists below to help you have a more sustainable summer. Use these tips at home and in the lab!
At Home: Summer Sustainability Tips
1. Carry a reusable water bottle to avoid plastic waste. Planning a summer trip to the coast? Single use plastic is a huge contributor to ocean pollution with 8 million metric tons of plastic entering our oceans every year. Reduce your usage by refilling a reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated all summer long.
2. Eat locally. Not only are farmers markets a great resource for shopping and eating locally grown fruits and veggies, but they’re also a fun summertime activity!
3. Consider walking instead of driving. The weather is warmer and the flowers are in bloom - if you have the option to walk instead of drive - take it!
4. Use the shade to keep cool. Save energy and buffer the sun’s heat with blinds, heavy curtains, and shade from trees before switching on the AC. When you do switch on the air, set the thermostat up a couple degrees higher than usual - this will slow the steam of heat flowing into your home while helping your AC work more efficiently.
5. In the spirit of the International Freezer Challenge, clean up your freezer and refrigerator at home. To increase the energy efficiency of your fridge by allowing air to circulate better, clean out food that has gone bad or plan to use food that you may be stockpiling. That forgotten pack of frozen strawberries is sure to make a refreshing smoothie!
In the Lab: Summer Sustainability Tips
1. As temperatures and humidity are higher in the summer, your lab’s HVAC system is already working overtime. To help the system cope with the rising temperatures, be sure to close your water baths and autoclaves - when they’re open, they release additional heat and humidity into the building.
2. Summer is great time to perform simple maintenance that your lab may need. Here are a few tips:
3. Save up to 30% of energy used by ultra-low temperature freezers by setting ULTs to -70C instead of -80C.
4. Turn off the lights when the last person has left the lab. This tip may seem simple, but lighting actually makes up about 15% of energy in the lab. When you’re done for the day, be sure the lights are off.
5. Sign up for the My Green Lab Newsletter! Our team at My Green Lab is working hard to fundamentally and permanently improve the sustainability of scientific research. Stay up to date on best practices for reducing energy, saving water, eliminating waste, and much more by receiving our monthly newsletter. Sign up here.