Campus laboratory facilities are major contributors to water use, energy consumption, and waste generation. Due to the wide variety of equipment, large appliances, sinks, and disposable products labs require, in many cases, sustainability is compromised to maintain research quality, expedience, and a smoothly running facility. This project aims to provide campus labs with simple sustainability solutions to quickly and easily reduce consumption without sacrificing productivity. In order to provide reliable advice on our website, we would like to implement LED grow lights and sink aerators in the Marine Sciences Building as a case study working towards a large-scale implementation.
There are approximately 70 sinks in the Marine Sciences Building, none of which have faucet aerators. Faucet aerators are a simple and inexpensive way to save on utilities and reduce water consumption. Installation takes less than five minutes per sink, and removal can be performed just as quickly. Mass implementation of sink aerators throughout campus would significantly reduce water use, in agreement with the goals of the Climate Action Plan and the UW’s commitment to sustainability. Considering the cost reduction based on a 30% reduction in water flow (taking into account filling beakers and tasks that are not affected by reduced water flow) the one-time cost of 70 sink aerators would be $1,400.00, which will last many years. UW plumbing will advise our group on the proper brand/model aerator for this facility.
On the 3rd floor of the Marine Sciences Building there are five growth chambers, each of which consumes a substantial amount of energy. The growth chambers currently use 32-watt T8 fluorescent bulbs, which we would like to replace with 19-watt LED bulbs. On their own, these bulbs would save $0.84 per month. However, we have communicated with Seattle City Light regarding their commercial energy efficiency rebate program. This program allows for $0.02-$0.23 rebate per kWh saved. They expressed enthusiasm towards working with us if this project leads to an LED conversion on a larger scale than one growth chamber for a limited period of time. Based on a conservative rebate estimate ($0.125 per kWh saved) an LED conversion in just five growth chambers would save $25.97 per month. This program would only apply for mass implementation of energy saving bulbs and must be negotiated prior to installation. If this case study is successful, this mass implementation could be considered, potentially saving hundreds of dollars per month while eliminating waste.
These figures are based on an average 30 bulbs for the five chambers on the third floor, which are in use 517 hours per month, and the cost of energy in Seattle in October 2012 ($0.092/kWh). It should also be kept in mind that these bulbs reduce the light bulb waste stream by 11% due to increased product lifetime and they do not contain harmful mercury. LED bulbs also produce less heat, reducing cooling costs in refrigerated cold rooms. It is important to note that retrofitting fixtures and installing aerators are reversible changes that will not damage the building or equipment.