Laboratories have been the birthplace of countless scientific innovations that have transformed the way we live. And now, as the issue of climate change becomes ever more urgent, the growing importance of biotechnology means that laboratories could also be the birthplace of innovations that will transform the future of our planet.
Biotechnology is where the DNA or genetic material of plants, animals or microbial systems is changed to create useful products and technologies – such as replacing polluting materials and chemical processes with more sustainable biological alternatives. From biofuels and biofertilizers to recyclable bioplastics and enzymatic detergents, a wide variety of biotechnology solutions are being developed in laboratories across the world with the aim of improving sustainability. So, with sustainability also at the heart of everything we do here at JPA Workspaces, we thought we’d take a look at how workspace furniture can help ensure the UK’s laboratories are perfectly set up to deliver these vital innovations.
As with any workspace, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to furniture for laboratories. These spaces all have their own unique needs depending on what type of work is being carried out, but here are the five key priorities we suggest focusing on if you are fitting out your laboratory space.
Choosing mobile, semi-mobile or modular laboratory furniture maximises flexibility. Movable benches and storage units will ensure your laboratory can be easily adjusted to suit different projects, growing teams, new spaces or new equipment. This will future-proof your space and avoid unnecessary expense should your work or priorities change – and give you the freedom to make those changes – eliminating the need for significant alterations.
When planning out your space, think about your requirements for utilities and other larger or immovable laboratory equipment. Consider where electrical outlets, gas taps, PCs and telephones will need to be and where to place essentials such as sinks, fridges, hand-wash stations and fume hoods. Adequate lighting is also important, as is placing instruments and smaller bench-top equipment so they are easily accessible and safe to use. Ensure any materials or finishes are resistant to the substances you will be using and all surfaces are durable and easy to maintain.
Laboratory projects can involve repetitive tasks and long hours, so ergonomically designed lab chairs and tables are essential. Laboratory cabinets and shelving should be positioned to ensure regularly used items are within reach. There should also be plenty of space for people to move around the laboratory comfortably and safely, which is of particular importance if your projects might involve hazardous materials. Once the practicalities are taken care of, you can give more thought to aesthetics – you don’t have to stick to bland furniture, there are multiple colour options that will make your space more appealing to staff and visitors.
Having served the NHS as furniture suppliers since the 1980s, we have a thorough understanding of the important role furniture plays in maintaining high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. That’s why we focus on ‘easy clean’ furniture with hard surfaces and offer upholstery fabrics and vinyls that are anti-microbial, bleach cleanable, waterproof and flame retardant to the higher level Crib 5 Medium Hazard standard.
Sustainability is an essential consideration for any business, and nowhere more so than in laboratories working on biotechnology projects that aim to improve it. Make sustainability a priority in every aspect of your operations, including ensuring all your third-party suppliers operate with similar values. At JPA Workspaces, we always look at what furniture can be repurposed or renovated before recommending any new items, helping the environment and your budget. We can also work with you to reconfigure your furniture to suit your changing requirements. As part of our zero waste to landfill policy, any furniture that cannot be reused will be rehomed or recycled. And we only source new products from suppliers with robust environmental credentials.
Why choose JPA Workspaces?
JPA Workspaces was founded almost 50 years ago on the principles of Quality Service and Quality Furniture, and that ethos still runs through our business today. We work with companies across multiple sectors and are passionate about providing sustainable workspaces that enable a better future for our people, our environment and our planet. Contact us today and our experts will help you design a laboratory space that will work as well for you in the future as it does today.