ECO Mode for Labs


What is ECO Mode?


Lab buildings are the biggest energy users on the UC Davis campus. This is mainly driven by the high ventilation requirements of lab spaces, where hazardous activities require bringing in outside air 24/7. 

However, some spaces were designed as labs, but are currently being used to perform non-hazardous activities (office space, break room, etc). In those spaces, ventilation rates may be reduced to save energy and improve occupant comfort. This is the purpose of the ECO mode program. 

Labs that are operating in ECO mode will have:

  • Lower ventilation rates
  • Explicit signage indicating no hazardous materials or activities are allowed in the space
  • Fume hoods hibernated


eco mode


The Principal Investigator (or where no PI is assigned the Department Safety Coordinator) will be responsible for monitoring activities performed in ECO mode labs, and ensuring that they are compliant with ECO mode guidelines. 

ECO mode is a joint program from Facilities Management's Energy Conservation Office, and Environmental Health and Safety. 


What is the process for enrolling in ECO mode? 

  1. The lab's PI (or if none is assigned, the department safety coordinator or DSC) fills out the questionnaire linked at the bottom of this page. 
  2. A representative from Environmental Health & Safety will contact the PI or DSC to confirm that the ventilation rates can be safely reduced based on the current activities performed in the lab. 
  3. If the space can be put in ECO Mode, a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by the lab's PI (or the department DSC, if there is no designated PI for the lab), the department's Chief Administrative Officer, Facilities Management, and Environmental Health and Safety
  4. Facilities Management will implement the airflow reduction and will install signage in the space indicating that lab is in ECO mode, and that no hazardous chemicals or operations are allowed 
  5. The lab's PI will create an LHAT for the space through, named “[Name of PI or DSC] [Building Name & Room number] - ECO mode” 
  6. The PI or DSC will monitor the activities performed in the lab  on an ongoing basis, to ensure they are in line with ECO mode guidelines

There is no cost to the department for putting a space into ECO mode. The intent of ECO mode is to stay in place for at least 12 months.


What happens if we need to perform hazardous activities again in a lab after it has been put in ECO mode? 

If the scope of activities changes in the lab, it can be reverted back to its original operation at no cost to the department.

As soon as the PI or DSC becomes aware of a change in scope (whether planned or already occurring) that involves hazardous chemicals or operations, they will email the ECO Mode list-serv (with their CAO cc’d) to request the lab be taken out of ECO mode. 


Want to Sign Up? 

Follow the link to sign up for your lab to go into ECO Mode. CAS Authentication is required to sign up. 

Sign Up for ECO Mode