Sustainability Blog - by UEA staff & students Sustainability Blog - by UEA staff & students


My Starfish has Fins!

Matthew Bennett is a Senior Technician in the Chemistry and Pharmacy Teaching Labs. As part of Green Impact 2015-16, he has worked with equipment suppliers Radleys to produce an innovative new combination of elements that waste zero water and are also incredibly energy efficient.

The SCI teaching laboratories in the Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy are combining best practice and innovation to improve the sustainability of facilities and activities.

We have recently been working in partnership with Radleys to develop a novel apparatus combining their energy and water saving products. The multi-reflux apparatus eliminates the use of water for cooling by using the Findenser in place of conventional water condensers.

Based on current practices in the teaching laboratory, this represents a projected saving of 30,000 litres of water per year, equivalent to over half of an average person’s yearly water consumption. The multiple flask baseplate reduces the energy required for heating by 40%, whilst also saving precious space and equipment in bustling laboratory sessions.

Banner image: from the standard Radleys StarFish to the in-use StarFish and Findensers (the StarFin)

Images (Left to Right): Radleys standard StarFish; Radleys StarFish with Findensers and gas manifold for reactions under Nitrogen; Radleys StarFish with Findensers ('StarFin'); Radleys StarFin in use

The ‘StarFin’ was piloted in a 2nd year Chemistry laboratory course this semester, where students have been given the opportunity give feedback on the design and its sustainability benefits.

The teaching laboratories are participating in the Green Impact scheme, this year aiming to achieve a Silver Labs Award. The scheme has helped to support a number of small projects in the lab and identified further advances to improve the sustainability of the laboratory and its activities.

"Chemistry will always be a profoundly practical science and our students have begun their career with the perfect balance between education, sustainability and safety. The sense that our students have gained: that sustainability is an economic as well as a social imperative, will be invaluable. I believe that this is just the beginning of the influence upon our lab classes and technician team and a Green Impact award will lever further national awards for our outstanding partners." - Prof. Simon Lancaster – Director of Learning and Teaching for Chemistry, University of East Anglia

Last year also marked the formation of the SCI-TECH Environmental Focus Group (EFG) which aims to work collaboratively with academics, technical support staff, laboratory users and Estates to advance laboratory sustainability. For more information, email

Look out for future blogs and case studies on a number of other projects focusing on laboratory sustainability, as we continue to develop our portfolio!

More information

Radleys website:

UEA School of Chemistry

UEA School of Pharmacy