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Usually, autoclaves require a sealed pressurised environment to generate saturated steam from water by raising the temperature to 121 °C or more for at least 15 minutes. This process turns autoclaves into a major source of water consumption in labs and medical facilities.

How to save energy and water?

  • Perform a facility survey to identify what types of autoclaves are installed and what type of water conservation solution would be appropriate. There are two most common types of steam sterilizers: gravity displacement autoclaves and high-speed pre-vacuum autoclaves.

  • Consider purchasing new research-grade autoclaves that are more energy-and water-efficient compared to medical-grade autoclaves. 

  • Shut autoclaves off when not in use, e.g. at night and over the weekends. 

  • Run autoclaves as efficiently as possible. Do full loads only, and avoid running an autoclave to sterilize, for example, just a single box of pipette tips.

  • Right size your autoclave. If you do not need a large autoclave, use a smaller one instead.

  • Install water-saving and/or water-cooling devices on existing autoclaves whenever possible.

Autoclaves: How to save energy and water?

Autoclaves are commonly used to sterilise equipment, reagents, and hazardous waste in labs. They are a major source of water consumption in labs and medical facilities.
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