GSK & University of Nottingham Carbon Neutral Laboratory
Build a laboratory that encourages the practice of sustainable chemistry.
Discovering new medicines is a resource and carbon intensive activity. Considerable energy is used to prepare pure substances and protect workers from exposure. Disposing of some chemical substances presents a challenge due to the hazardous nature of the material, and large volumes of water are typically used for cooling.
The design, even of modern laboratories, can reinforce and embed poor practice as chemists work to tackle life-threatening disease as quickly as possible. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has committed to a long-term goal for company operations and the value chain to be carbon neutral by 2050. This target means there will be no net greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of products and the sourcing of raw materials. Interim targets have been set for carbon footprint reduction of 10% by 2015 and 25% by 2020. GSK also has targets to reduce operational water consumption by 20% by 2015 and to reduce waste to landfill from operations by 25% by 2015, and to zero by 2020.
GSK and the University of Nottingham are collaborating to establish a Centre of Excellence for sustainable chemistry and to construct a Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry on the university’s Jubilee Campus.
Supported by a £12 million grant from GSK, the laboratory will focus on research that is of particular relevance to the pharmaceutical industry, and which complements established expertise at the University of Nottingham. It will also deliver advanced undergraduate teaching and outreach to the wider scientific community to embed sustainable chemistry principles in the next generation of scientists.
The building will incorporate the latest technologies to allow it to be carbon-neutral over its lifetime. The laboratory will be built from natural materials, and the energy required to run it will be met by renewable sources such as solar power and sustainable biofuel. Excess energy created by the building will provide enough carbon credits over 25 years to pay back the carbon used in its construction. Cooling water will be re-circulated and laboratories will be designed to encourage more sustainable practice.