Sustainable UCL


Christmas Switch Off Savings: the UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science

Deniz Bakkalci from the UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science discusses their lab's efforts to be more sustainable during the Christmas Switch Off.

Scientist in a lab

18 January 2022

What are you and your team's sustainability goals?

My name is Deniz Bakkalci and I’m a Research Fellow and Sustainability Champion of the UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science. One of my research interests is to improve the sustainability of our projects while maintaining our research integrity. Our divisional sustainability team aims to make our labs as green as possible to meet UCL’s net-zero target.

What actions have you been taking to meet these goals?

We have been implementing several sustainability practices for over a year. I’ve been creating social media content for sustainable laboratory practices and training new laboratory users in line with these practices. Appropriate switch off for lab equipment is one of the most simple but essential requirements for sustainable laboratories. Therefore, me and our division’s Laboratory Technician, Evangelia Smpokou Olney, came up with a list of equipment that we can turn off during our Christmas break from the 22nd of December to the 3rd of January. From this list, I calculated the amount of CO2 emissions that we would reduce and the money we would save by using an online LEAF calculator. We aim to reduce ~3.7 tones of CO2 emission and save £1230 within 10 days of Christmas break.

These calculations were used as an example case study and shared with other Division of Surgery Campuses, Royal Free Campus and Stanmore Campus. We switched off our incubators which will help us save energy, and we will be able to start a new term with sterilized incubators. We also cleaned a few of the fume hood cabinets and safely discarded the waste to switch them off. We unplugged our ice machine. We organised our fridge/freezer storage space, and this enabled us to switch off one fridge (4oC) and one freezer (-20oC) completely.

What are your sustainability goals for the future?

Next year, one of our goals is to reorganize our -80oC freezers and liquid nitrogen tanks to create more space for new laboratory members and discard expired materials. We hope our action plan will motivate other laboratories to be more sustainable during holiday closures.

What can other staff at UCL do to be more sustainable?

I would be very happy to help other researchers trying to improve their sustainability practices in the laboratory. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me from d.bakkalci@ucl.ac.uk.

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