UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


ISH Heritage Science Labs win gold award for sustainability

23 July 2020

The ISH Heritage Science Labs team, led by Scott Orr and Miriam Wright, were awarded the top-level prize at UCL Sustainability Awards 2020.

UCL Portico columns with colourful text overlay reading: Sustainability Awards 2020

Dr Scott Orr, Lecturer in Heritage Data Science, and Dr Miriam Wright, Heritage Science Lab Technician, won the Gold Sustainable Labs Award at a virtual awards ceremony following their completion of the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF), developed by Sustainable UCL.

The award recognises sustainable laboratory practices that allow research to be conducted in a resource efficient and sustainable way. LEAF contains criteria which lab users can implement around areas such as waste & recycling, equipment management, procurement, and more.

The win follows the team’s success in 2019 where they received the Silver Sustainable Labs Award for their work in the Heritage Science Labs in Gordon House, in UCL’s Bloomsbury campus. For this year’s application the team were also recognised for their sustainable efforts in the Heritage Science Lab at Here East.

Despite effectively doubling the space accounted for in their application, the team kept waste production and energy consumption about the same, representing a much lower footprint per lab area. 

Scott and Miriam also worked closely with other UCL departments to undertake efficient and sustainable approaches to repairing equipment (including UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering), reducing service visits and the affiliated carbon footprint of automobile travel.

The bid included sustainable lab-based teaching. In 2020/21 ISH will offer a new module called "Material-Environment Interactions", within the Data Science for Cultural Heritage MSc. Determined to support ISH's move towards more sustainable practices, elements have been added on the use of sustainable materials and experiments that have zero environmental impact.