Green Labs | Aiming for 100% LEAF Silver Certification

The University of Bristol is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its research and STEMed (Science, Technology,Green Labs accreditations picture Engineering, Maths) labs across campus through an initiative called Green Labs.  

The Green Labs scheme at Bristol encompasses a number of means to reduce the environmental impact of our research and STEMed labs. It is driven by the LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework), which is a standardised framework for meeting a total of 45 criteria spread across what is termed ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ certification. This encompasses optimising water and energy usage, reducing waste, and integrating the principles of green chemistry into daily operations, to name just a few of the criteria. 

As we move through the remainder of 2023 and into 2024, our sights are set on a new, ambitious objective: achieving 100% institutional Silver LEAF certification by January 2024.  

This goal is driven not only by our deep-seated ethos of environmental stewardship and sustainable science, but also by the prospect of becoming the world’s first university to earn Silver LEAF accreditation across the entirety of our institution.  

We have set ourselves a deadline of 100% institutional Silver by January 2024 and as this date draws closer, the number of labs already receiving the certification is really encouraging. The School of Anatomy, Bristol BioResource Laboratories and the Level 7 Labs within the BRI are now 100% Silver.  

Besides reducing our environmental footprint and utility costs, LEAF certification offers other real-world benefits. It boosts research efficiency, strengthens relationships across departments, and opens up potential avenues for additional research funding. For prospective students and staff, it is a powerful testament to our commitment to sustainable practices, which can be a significant draw.  

The Green Labs team can provide tailored guidance and perform audits — whether in-person or virtually — our expertise will be invaluable in streamlining the certification process for your lab. For assistance or to arrange an audit, email  

The LEAF Process (a ‘How To’ Guide) 

We understand that the new, online LEAF tool may seem confusing, but the system has been updated to be even easier for lab users. Follow our 5-step guide to submit your Silver for 2024 submission.  

  1. Register or sign into the LEAF UCL (University College London) tool linked here.  
  2. Fill out the Award Criteria section of the website, remember if you achieved bronze in 2021 or earlier you will need to resubmit for bronze as well as silver. Fill out how you met each criterion, and you can provide supporting documents if you wish, you can also save your answers and complete later. For an in-depth tutorial on how to use the tool click here.  
  3. Once all criteria have been filled out, or you have explained why some do not apply to your lab, we encourage you to attach calculations for energy and cost savings, for more details click here. There is also a section to discuss individual actions or ‘Open Initiatives.’ These extra pieces of information are vital and help us calculate how much taking part in LEAF your lab saves.  
  4. Click submit sustainability assessment and the Green Labs Team will be in touch to organise an in-person or online audit.  
  5. After a successful audit you will receive a certificate and/or badge to recognise your contribution to sustainable science.  

There’s more information available for UOB Labs on this Sharepoint page

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