The Green Team is born with the aim of reducing IDIBELL’s environmental impact

  • The IDIBELL Green Team is created, the working group whose objective is to promote a more environmentally-friendly research
  • The first change that has been implemented is raising the temperature of the ultra-freezers to -70ºC to save energy and extend their useful life

The scientific community agrees: climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity. Billions of people are suffering the consequences in their day-to-day lives and health professionals around the world are already seeing the impacts it has on human health.

In this sense, we are all co-responsible. For example, we know that scientific research has a significant environmental impact: laboratories and data processing centers are the facilities that, per unit of surface area, require the most energy to operate. In addition, laboratories also generate a large amount of plastic waste – approximately 5.5 million tons of plastic every year globally – and are large consumers of water.

As a result, a multitude of initiatives have been born around the world: accreditation systems for sustainable laboratories, non-profit organizations that generate and share knowledge on this topic, committees within universities and centers research, and even competitions. And the number of entities, people and initiatives with this mission is only increasing.

Now, and thanks to the own initiative of a few people concerned about the climate emergency, the IDIBELL Green Team has been born. This working group includes researchers and scientific and administrative support staff, it promotes that research at IDIBELL is responsible with the environment and consistent with current scientific evidence. For this reason, the objective of the Green Team is to implement changes that reduce the consumption of water and energy and the generation of waste at the Institute, and also to raise awareness among its members and align with the sustainability policies of reference research centers regionally and internationally.

After specific training on the environmental impact of the academic sector, this group of people decided on the action that would kick-off the Green Team: increasing the ultrafreezers’ temperature from -80ºC to -70ºC. This reduces the electrical consumption of the devices and their emissions by 30%, in addition to extending their life time and reducing breakdowns, all in all contributing to economic savings. Turning -70ºC is an action that has been implemented in many other laboratories around the world and also in other Catalonia research centers with extremely positive results. At the moment, IDIBELL has executed the first phase of this change including 10 freezers, which will lead to a reduction of 15,800 kWh of electricity and 4.2 tons of CO2eq each year, the equivalent to almost 5 family homes.

Apart from this action, this working group has also carried out other activities, such as a sustainability workshop dedicated to high school students at the INS Bellvitge or participation in a round table on the role of scientists in the climate emergency, organized by the ICFO predoctoral committee. Some of the projections for the future are, apart from continuing the gradual implementation of the temperature change, putting aerators on all the taps to save water or hanging awareness labels in different equipments with their environmental footprint data.



The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).

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