Green Initiatives in Facility Planning

Posted: Jul 31, 2019

University laboratories, research centers, and other facilities use a wide variety of equipment to meet their research needs. In the earliest days of scientific studies, researchers used whatever equipment most closely fit their needs and finances – most did not consider the effects the use of such equipment might have on the environment.

To help students get the most out their academic experience, many university classes add lab time to their curriculum. The hands-on experience helps students grasp the information provided in the lectures and put what they learn into practice. Lab time is particularly beneficial for science and pre-med students, but labs are also helpful for biology, chemistry, physics, and even astronomy.

Because labs play such an essential role in the academic experience and in real life, nearly all facilities require lab equipment to be highly accurate and cost-effective. In environmentally friendly facilities, the equipment must also meet green initiatives.

Many facilities and institutions are moving towards sustainability in their labs to meet these initiatives, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Yale University, and Cornell University. Several institutions and facilities are transitioning to dry heat sterilization as a way to meet their research needs in an environmentally friendly way. The Cambridge Green Challenge, issued by the University of Cambridge, recognizes the environmental effect university life has and encourages students and faculty to reduce their environmental impact during their time at the university.

Dry heat sterilization helps facilities meet these economic, scientific, and environmental challenges. Dry heat sterilization is the non-toxic, low cost, corrosion-free, easy to install, and environmentally friendly approach to sterilization in labs.

Dry Heat Sterilization – One Step Toward Greener Facilities

Dry heat sterilization is the process of disinfecting an item by exposing it to hot air. The primary use for dry heat sterilization is to sterilize materials susceptible to damage by moist heat. Materials most amenable to dry heat sterilization include:

  • Powder coated products

  • Petroleum based products

  • Various metal instruments

There are two main types of dry heat sterilization units: static air and forced air. Static air sterilizers work somewhat like an oven: heating coils cause hot air to rise into the chamber and the hot air sterilizes the components inside the chamber. Forced air or mechanical convection sterilizers, in comparison, use motor-driven blowers to circulate heated air throughout the chamber to provide faster heating.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, dry heat sterilization has several other advantages over its not-so-green alternatives. Dry heat sterilization is non-toxic in that it does not require additional chemicals to sterilize products. The process is also non-corrosive to metals, so components maintain their size, shape, and integrity. The operation is also quite cost-efficient compared to alternative methods.

In a recent study cited by the Cambridge Green Challenge, researchers determined that typical drying cabinets – even those produced just a few years ago – operating at 75°C consume approximately 18 kWh each day. They also found that newer cabinets with better insulation, improved temperature control, and an integrated timer use 50 percent less energy. They suggest replacing drying cabinets that are more than 5 years old with an energy efficient model.

Thermal Product Solutions has several Gruenberg ovens for dry heat sterilization. Gruenberg manufacture’s Dry Heat Cabinet Style Lab Animal Science Sterilizers,  which are low in cost and energy consumption. Thermal Product Solutions also manufacturers Gruenberg POD Dry Heat Lab Animal Science Sterilizer and the Gruenberg SteriDry™ Dry Heat Lab Animal Science Sterilizer, both designed for the sterilization of habitat cages through dry-heat sterilization. For more information about Gruenberg’s dry heat sterilizers, please contact us at (800) 586-2473, or visit our website,


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