The German Primate Center - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research aims to use all used resources in a sustainable manner. The sustainability concept is to essentially focus on reducing CO2 emissions at the DPZ. In so doing, processes are to be analyzed and optimized and operational efficiency increased from the sustainability point of view. On this page, we provide information about our goals and their progress in implementation.
In order to develop concrete goals and measures and to involve all employees, we held a Climate Conservation Day at the German Primate Center on September 16th 2021.
Sustainability in all areas
At the DPZ, we pay attention to sustainable management in all areas. This includes not only monitoring our energy consumption such as electricity, water or heating oil. We also focus on smaller processes such as procurement or catering at events.
Purchasing at the DPZ is the control center for all goods and consumables used at the DPZ on a daily basis. The department's employees also strive to use sustainable, regional products wherever possible. Other laboratory consumables, such as pipette tips, gloves and petri dishes, are also produced in a climate-neutral manner.
When organizing events, there are also many starting points for catering to guests in a more sustainable and resource-conserving way. At the DPZ, we therefore mainly use regional and seasonal products from controlled organic and/or fair trade production and offer 60 percent vegetarian meals.
Dealing with cooling equipment at the DPZ
One process that causes high energy consumption at the DPZ is the cooling and freezing of sensitive biological samples. At the moment, there are more than 300 refrigerators and freezers in the institute that run continuously. They cause an annual electricity consumption of about 500,000 kilowatt hours and account for one tenth of the annual electricity costs (about 70,000 euros).
In the wake of the institute-wide Climate Day in September 2021, a task force was formed at the DPZ to work toward more efficient use of the cooling equipment. Those responsible first obtained an overview of all the cooling equipment currently in use at the institute and took stock. They then drew up simple rules of conduct for handling the refrigeration equipment, which are intended to reduce electricity costs in the future. These include, for example, systematically registering all samples and sorting them according to priority, as well as regularly disposing of old samples with defective or missing labeling. More order in the freezer makes it easier to find samples, prevents cold from escaping and ice from forming, and thus helps save energy.
For example, the contents of several refrigerators can be combined so that instead of three, for example, only one freezer is in operation. In the future, this will save time, energy, money, and provide a better and electronically retrievable overview of the samples in the institute.
Proper maintenance and correct handling of the freezers, such as infrequent opening and regular de-icing, also ensures a longer service life for the equipment and reduces energy costs. The technical assistants in the laboratories, in cooperation with the respective department heads, ensure that the rules of conduct for handling refrigeration equipment are observed and that new colleagues are instructed.
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The RICOH Consulting 2022 analysis report on energy and environmental efficiency certifies that the DPZ was able to reduce energy consumption by 15,624 kWh p.a. through sustainable optimisation.
This considerable saving could be realised, among other things, by changing the printer system in the building from decentralised workplace printers to central, shared printers.