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The ITQB NOVA Sustainability Committee aims to propose solutions to help reduce both our common footprint and the resources we dedicate to keep ITQB NOVA running, without compromising the quality of our work. These  proposals include both structural changes and behavioral changes, to which we can all contribute.



Community Challenges

Every week we propose a new sustainability challenge to colectivelly contribute to a better ITQB NOVA and a more sustainable world.


Green Labs Plastic Collection

The first step to build an ITQB NOVA blueprint for a more sustainable community is to reflect and plan actions to address how much (and what types of) plastic we use in the labs, and find solutions for it. From 2-30 November, participating labs will collect and separate all plastics used for research purposes. The material will then be analyzed, counted and weighted, in order to make an estimate of the total plastic consumption in our labs.


Separate general use plastics and packaging

From 7-20 November, takes place a collection of general use plastics and packaging. More than that, the Committee wants to estimate how much plastic and other packaging we generate in the building, so we ask you to put all plastics and packaging in the recycling bins provided on level 1 (outside by the security guard) and level 2 (both in the vending machines and microwaves areas). After this period, the estimates will help to define how many recycling bins will be necessary and what measures we need to take to reduce our waste.


Reduce electricity consumption in offices and laboratories

The Committee proposes an extra effort to turn off switches and electrical equipment when not in use. When you leave, even for a short time, make sure the lights in rooms are switched off. At the end of the day, whenever possible, switch off computers and other equipment, as well as air conditioning.  The annual electricity consumption of this building is 4,750,000 kWh, which is equivalent to the consumption of 1,989 medium-sized households. The estimated annual cost in 2022 is 735,000€ (this figure is expected to more than triple in 2023). Some lights cannot be switched off for safety reasons, but if you come across any lights that are on unnecessarily, please turn them off or, if this is not possible, please send an email to


Reduce water consumption

Annual consumption at ITQB NOVA is around 19,000 m3 or 19,000,000 litres. In particular, we want to remind that laboratories have two types of piped water: normal water and deionised water, which is produced at ITQB NOVA. Water treatment for laboratory use has energy costs and, paradoxically, water costs. For example, to make 1 litre of deionised water, up to 4 litres of piped water are needed. ITQB NOVA also has other types of water for specific purposes and with increasing purity: distilled water, bidistilled water and ultrapure water (millipore), with the respective waste of rejected water. Before choosing which type of water to use, please take into account the purpose for which it is intended. To help reduce the consumption of piped water in the laboratories, the water flow in the taps will be reduced manually.


Reduce the amount of paper printed

At ITQB NOVA about 600 reams of printer paper are consumed every year. This number has been decreasing over time, but we believe we can go further, equating each print or copy on paper.
Files can be shared via email or other electronic platforms instead of being printed. In a meeting, it is always possible to project a document, rather than distribute a printed version. A document can be shared and edited online, rather than printed in its multiple versions.
Of course, sometimes printing a document is a must, but there are actions we can take to still reduce paper consumption:
• Print on both sides of the paper sheet;
• Reuse printed paper to print on, to draft great ideas or artwork (if you use draft sheets for new printouts, remember to remove them from the common use printer so as not to affect subsequent printouts).
In any case, all paper that cannot be reused should be placed in the recycling bins next to the photocopiers.



The Committee

Ana Sanchez – Coordinator - Head of Advanced Training
Nelson Saibo – Coordinator - Group Leader of the Plant Gene Regulation Lab
Carina Valente - Post Doc at the Molecular Microbiology of Human Pathogens Lab
Dalila Farinha - Executive Administrator
Joana Belo - PhD Student at the Plant Functional Genomics Lab
Nuno Monteiro - Head of Maintenance
Renata Ramalho - Head of Science Communication & Image

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