DTUs laboratories must be both safe and sustainable

Technical University of Denmark

The ground floor of Building 211 at DTU Lyngby Campus houses four teaching laboratories with white walls and high ceilings. Here, a total of 48 fume hoods are used for teaching purposes. The fume hoods prevent exposure to inhalation of hazardous fumes and ensure the correct handling of spills of corrosive chemicals. That is a good thing in terms of ensuring a safe working environment for users. But the fume hoods run around the clock, which is less good when we want to save energy.

DTU Chemistry will test and evaluate whether fume hoods can be switched off in one of the teaching laboratories when it is not being used to minimize ventilation costs.

“Here at DTU Chemistry, we work at all hours, but we also agree that it’s too expensive to have all equipment in constant operation, even when there is no one in the laboratory. We prioritize switching the equipment off during such periods,” says Jimmie Thomsen, Head of Workshop, Building Center and Reception at DTU Chemistry.

Energy Committee

Jimmie Thomsen sits on a newly established energy committee in the department, which is composed of both technical-administrative staff and scientific staff, who discuss solutions for reducing energy consumption.

“There is a need for new initiatives where resources are better utilized with less waste, but the green initiatives must not be introduced at the expense of safety,” says Jimmie Thomsen, who is also looking at how to reduce the consumption of vacuum pumps, ovens, and freezers in DTU Chemistry’s laboratories.

“As a minimum, we’re working to achieve a reduction of 10 percent. The challenge is that it takes time. For me, it’s about keeping up the momentum, so what I’ve proposed is that we address energy saving measures as an ongoing theme at our department meetings. It requires constant focus,” emphasizes Jimmie Thomsen.

In offices and communal areas in the department, energy savings must be found by remembering to turn off the lights and heating, and to switch off the equipment that consumes energy when it is not in use.

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