One day while doing experiment in the chemistry lab, suddenly I was shocked by the amount of water and energy used just for a single experiment. Even though I have been practicing habits that reduce carbon emission and water usage, an experiment I have done just ruined all the hard work I have made. The running tap water for washing apparatus and overnight heating supplies for experiment require big amount of energy, especially if this is repeated almost everyday in a year. It will be more if considering the compounds and solvents used, which require more energy for preparation and purification before usage.
In fact, in academic campuses and corporate research centers, laboratories are the major energy consumer. Despite most innovation nowadays take ‘environmental-friendly’ as one of their ground rules to achieve, it is unavoidable for the ongoing researches to use so much energy before any findings could be found. Instead of stopping the researches that sought to find greener alternatives for better life, the research lab can reduce their negative impact to the world by achieving higher laboratory energy efficiency.
To accomplish this, it has to be started with a well-designed laboratory that make good use of resources around, for example utilize sunlight for illumination. Besides, experiment conducted should be well planned so that it makes good use of all facilities. And the most important thing is, researchers need to have awareness of this and practice good habits so that sustainability can be reached ultimately.
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Yee Ann Ho