[Greener-benches] How to cut standby power usage in your lab

Kreycik, Philip William philip_kreycik at harvard.edu
Wed Nov 4 10:34:36 EST 2009

Dear lab researchers, lab managers, and PIs,

You have a great degree of control over how much energy your lab is
using without adding time to your daily routine.  Below are some tips
for cutting down on substantial standby power waste in the labs.  Please
browse the list for ideas! 

Beyond the items below, what else should be shut off overnight? Email
energy at fas.harvard.edu or reply directly with suggestions!

Happy November!
-the FAS Lab Sustainability Reps


*        To identify equipment with high standby power usage, ask

o       Does the device heat or cool itself all night?

o       Are there lights within the device?

o       Does it have a power adaptor (like a cell phone charger)?

o       Can you feel any heat being given off by the device when you
touch it (whether at the power adaptor or around the actual device)?



*        Can the device be plugged into a power strip or timer to shut
it off during times it will not be needed?


FREE timers and power strips are still available for energy conservation
in FAS buildings! Power strips have been used to plug in several items
with standby power use (balances, mixers, shakers, printers, etc...) and
they are switched off at the end of the day with one click.  


Labs at Harvard have successfully installed timers to do this
automatically on the following equipment:


o       Lab Specific

*         Ovens

*         Microscopes (to prevent the light from staying on all night)

*         Water baths

*         Heat blocks

*         Hot plates (in case they accidentally get left on overnight)

*         Shakers

*         Custom setups

o       General appliances

*         Plasma TVs (departmental display TVs)

*         Water coolers/heaters

*         Laser jet printers

*         Coffee machines

*         Sump pumps


*        Does any of the equipment running all night have a short
startup time?


Environmental shakers (G25s) and other devices that use convection
heating will heat up faster than conductive heating devices with a lot
of thermal mass (like water baths).    Of course, if slow startup time
is an issue, consider using one of our free timers to turn it off at
night and turn it on before people arrive for the day, factoring in the
start up time.


*        Is there any duplicate equipment running all night?


Consider whether there is duplicate equipment idling overnight, and if
there is, designate one of the pieces of equipment to be the one that
people use during periods of lower lab occupancy. Of course, if the
startup time is very short, just turn all of the equipment off



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