Institute of Archaeology


Gold LEAF Award for UCL Institute of Archaeology Laboratories

24 July 2020

The UCL Institute of Archaeology Laboratories have been awarded a Gold award from LEAF - the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework - as part of UCL’s sustainability behaviour change programmes.

LEAF Gold Award logo (Laboratoey Efficientcy Assessment Framework)

The Archaeology LEAF team, led by Sandra Bond, Departmental Green Champion and Facilities Manager, used the framework as inspiration to change laboratory protocols, thus reducing the impact of lab activities.

Examples of activities undertaken or planned include extending the SEM tungsten filament life and improving the gold target performance and also by recycling the gold in the Wolfson Labs. Laboratory plastics from the Isotope Labs have been reused in Environmental Labs and a new energy efficient freezer acquired. Green Chemistry principles are being employed when choosing laboratory cleaning chemicals while laboratory bottles will continue to be recycled once collections restart. Lighting timers have been updated and signage reminders about closing windows have been  displayed.

According to Sandra:

My highlight of our LEAF meetings was our visit to the roof to see the solar panels; during lockdown I have been checking the buildings energy consumption and it has been possible to see the impact they are having on our energy use."

LEAF - the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework - contains criteria which laboratory users can implement around areas such as waste and recycling, equipment management, procurement, and more. Criteria are divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. A key feature of LEAF is that it allows users to quantify their savings and impact in pounds and carbon. LEAF is supported by the UKRN (UK reproducibility network), as it contains criteria which improve research quality. This is in recognition of the fact that science which is reproducible is the most sustainable of all, and that there are common solutions to improving research quality and sustainability.

Congratulations to Sandra, who was also nominated for a Staff Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability, to mark her wide-reaching and tireless commitment within the Institute of Archaeology and beyond, and her incredible support with UCL Green Impact campaigns and Repair Cafes.

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