In a modern office 10% of total costs are energy… in labs that figure rises to around 40-50%.

Many pieces of equipment are running 24/7 365 days a year… for some equipment ULT -70/-80 freezers and CO2 incubators they have to remain on… but for others they do not.

The biggest single change that can yield the most savings is a piece of equipment that most people ignore.  The ‘elephant in the room’ – the humble glassware drying cabinet that can lead to burning money.

Traditionally these are uninsulated ‘hot boxes’ set at 50-70oC and NEVER switched off.  Often single glazed and controlled by an archaic simmerstat.  GPE Scientific and Genlab sought to address this.  We firstly measured hundreds of existing drying cabinets and divided the energy consumption by the capacity to give a KW/H/Litre.   The most inefficient one we measured was burning 88.8KW/H/Day… that’s TEN times what a good -80 ULT freezer will consume.

Armed with this we built a fully insulated drying cabinet, with full thermostatic control,  the larger ones have double glazed doors with rubber door seals.  A ceramic baseplate was fitted to stop heat transfer to the vinyl floor (or the Trespa work bench).  The floor mounted ones were later fitted with lockable castors to make them easy to manoeuvre and to make it easy to clean underneath.  The backlit LCD 24//7 timer allows the user to turn the cabinet on and off to match your working day… being ‘off’ for 12 hours a day and ‘off’ at weekends saves a minimum of 120 hours a week.  The moisture port in the top of each cabinet allows the moisture to escape when very wet glassware is first placed inside and can be closed once dry to conserve even more energy.  Our controller even has an in-built energy monitor so you can check the energy consumption.

Dozens of large Universities have already carried out large scale swap outs of their old cabinets with a typical payback period of just THREE years.  We even recycle the old cabinets too if desired.  The E3 cabinets are also eligible for SALIX funding – a government initiative to help organisations fund the replacement of old inefficient equipment – an interest free loan repaid with the savings to the energy bill.

So next time you walk past a glassware cabinet – (carefully) touch the sides/glass – if they are hot to the touch – you are not just drying glassware  – you are also burning money.

Barry Reid
Sustainability Manager
GPE Scientific.