University of Oulu

Achieving carbon neutral research practices at the University of Oulu

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Author: Raut, Rishikesh1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Environmental Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 9.4 MB)
Pages: 89
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. Raut, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-07-11
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Pongracz, Eva
Kiehle, Julia
Reviewer: Pongracz, Eva
Kiehle, Julia


The European Union accounts for about 10% of global GHG emissions, and it is targeting carbon neutrality by 2050. Finnish universities want to lead this race, as they are aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030. To support these goals, it is imperative to understand the environmental impact of research laboratories, as they operate resource-intensive processes contributing to a significant portion of the university’s carbon footprint (CF). The major sources of emissions within laboratories are found to be attributable to consumption of energy, water and chemicals, and the generation of waste.

Climate-friendly laboratories optimize their facilities for resource-efficiency, while incorporating procedures to influence the behavior and working habits of its users. For improving energy efficiency, laboratories quantify energy consumption and assess the pattern of equipment use by collecting data on the electronic loads. The analysis of energy consumption guides the strategies for energy saving. For dealing with waste, laboratories assess their waste streams and implement the waste management hierarchy. To reduce water use, the efficiency of rinsing/cleaning, cooling and flow control operations is improved. Responsible management of chemical use involves undertaking experiments on a smaller scale and using safer alternatives where possible.

The insights obtained from the state-of-the-art in laboratory sustainability paved way for the case study documenting the research practices at the University of Oulu’s ‘Paja’ or workshop laboratory. Subsequently, recommendations for reducing the carbon footprint of the university’s research are presented in this thesis.

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Copyright information: © Rishikesh Raut, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.