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Why Benchmark Your Lab’s Energy Data?

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Having quantitative energy and emissions data, metrics, and targets is key to reducing the carbon footprint of laboratories. To help lab owners, operators, architects, engineers, and consultants track and compare energy use intensity (EUI) of their buildings to similar facilities, the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), with support from the Federal Energy Management Program and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, hosts a Laboratory Benchmarking Tool (LBT).


The LBT is a whole-building energy benchmarking tool that allows users to compare a labs EUI to facilities with similar location, lab type, lab square footage, hours of occupancy, and number of fume hoods. The tool can be used to benchmark labs from any industry sector and includes metrics such as energy intensity, greenhouse gas intensity, plug load intensity, lab ventilation policies, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) control types.

The road to better understanding and decreasing lab energy and emissions starts with benchmarking, but the LBT offers many other features that provide incentive to input your lab building’s data, including the following benefits:

  • Set improvement targets: The tool allows you to prioritize energy-saving projects within your building portfolio by providing insight into building energy consumption.

  • See how you stack up against peers: The LBT lets you evaluate your labs EUI against that of peer facilities with similar functional requirements, climate zones, and/or heating and cooling systems.

  • Start conversations about building energy consumption: Use results to show your colleagues how your building energy use compares to others and could be improved.

  • Receive personalized actionable insights: The LBT Actionable Insights Module bridges the gap between benchmarking and action by providing customized energy efficiency project ideas and resources, based on the building data you input.

  • Compare operational practices and policies: Evaluate the activities and policies at your buildings by using the Operational Practices Module to assess your buildings against those with similar operational inputs.

  • Link buildings with your Portfolio Manager® account: You can import energy usage data from the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool directly into the LBT, so you don’t have to duplicate efforts when inputting data.

The LBT is a key component of todays efforts to decarbonize laboratories, and it forms the basis of I2SLs new Labs2Zero program. Any data added to the LBT will increase the usefulness of the dataset when Labs2Zero launches its energy and emissions scorecards for laboratories in the future.


Join the nearly 1,000 other facilities and benchmark your lab buildings today! Even if youve benchmarked your lab data in the past, you can update your information in the LBT to help the tool reflect the most accurate and up-to-date information as possible. If you have any questions about using the LBT, check out the FAQ pageor email lbt@i2sl.org.


Calling on Researchers to Join the -70°C Database


To improve energy efficiency, does your lab store samples at -70°C within ultra-low temperature freezers? If so, help My Green Lab refresh “-70°C Database,” which was first created by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Green Labs Program. My Green Lab hopes to illustrate that changing the set point of ultra-low temperature freezers to -70°C is effective at reducing the energy consumption of a labs freezers. Complete this brief Google form to share your experience storing scientific samples at -70°C.


Join a Global Summit on Sustainability


Join My Green Lab for their 2023 Global Summit on Thursday, June 8 to hear from leaders across the scientific community on the latest opportunities to drive sustainable change in the lab. Experts from industry, academia, manufacturing, policy, and funding bodies will come together to explore practical tools and strategies to transform the scientific industry through sustainability. Register onlinetoday!

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