Water Conservation

Labs consume more water per square foot than regular office buildings primarily due to their increased cooling and processing needs (Water Efficiency Guide for Laboratories (PDF)). Autoclaves, dishwashing, and single-pass cooling systems all contribute to the high-water usage in labs. Thankfully, there are many opportunities to lower water consumption in the lab. Here is a quick overview of some ways to use less water in the lab. For more information on how to conserve water in your lab, check out our Green Labs Manual.

Always consult the Principal Investigator (PI) of the lab before implementing any changes.

  • Report leaks and other water waste to the Facilities Service Center (512-471-2020) as soon as detected.
  • If there is no dishwasher in your lab, wash dishes in batches by filling up a sink or container full of water. When rinsing dishes use a lower flow of water.
  • Only run the autoclave and dishwasher when full.
  • Use the lowest purity water appropriate for your application. Higher purity waters are more energy and water intensive to generate. According to Utilities and Energy Management, at UT it takes 1.4 gallons of tap water to make 1 gallon of deionized water (DI).
  • If your lab has a dedicated cooling and/or process recirculating water loop, use it instead of single-pass water (water used once to cool a piece of equipment, instrument, or other process that is then discharged to the sanitary sewer). If the process will contaminate the loop's water, a filtration system needs to be installed on the equipment.
  • If your lab does not have a dedicated recirculating water loop, use a portable chiller such as ones from Thermo-Fisher and Cole-Parmer.
  • Instead of a faucet-based aspirator, use a portable vacuum pump or the building's central vacuum system. Find examples of portable vacuum pumps from Fisher Scientific and Thomas Scientific.
  • Use a waterless condenser when possible. Find examples of waterless condensers from Findenser, Chemglass, and Vacuubrand.
Additional Resources