Good practice

Ecodesigned fume cupboards save materials and costs

Ecodesigned fume cupboards save materials and costs
© torwaiphoto, #135995417, 2017, source:
Annual saving:
Resource savings: Raw material:
Aluminium and steel
Associated cost savings: Raw material:
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design
Size of company:
Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Safer labs, better environment!

  • Lab specialist uses LCA and ecodesign principles to improve its production efficiency
  • Analysis showed where material savings could be made and parts removed to cut costs
  • € 54 040 in aluminium and steel materials saved annually in its EPD-certified fume cupboard product

Burdinola S. Coop., based in Amoroto (Bizkaia, the Basque Country), manages integrated laboratory projects from consultancy, engineering, installation, training and commissioning, to after-sales service. Captured in its motto 'safer labs', Burdinola's technologies and solutions cover safety aspects, sustainability, ecodesign and applicable standards in scientific settings down to the specifics of laboratory furniture and fittings, including fume cupboards – a ventilated enclosure in a lab in which harmful or volatile chemicals can be used or kept. 

 Always at the forefront of innovation, Burdinola designs and manufactures products on the basis of strict requirements and, where possible, following the cradle-to-cradle philosophy controlling the product’s full life cycle.

Burdinola introduced ecodesign principles into its production process to improve its image as an environmentally conscious firm, but also to lower product costs, keep ahead of future legislation, and use ecodesign as an innovation tool. Management chose Burdinola's Fume Cupboard BECOME ST1500 to demonstrate this. After a life-cycle assessment (LCA), the main environmental aspects identified were:

  • The production phase has the highest environmental impact, especially the front panel made out of aluminium
  • The aluminium side parts, iron structure, and the melanin panels were also high in material consumption
  • Transport impacts were also high, especially on  the supplier side

The following ecodesign measures were developed to improve the product:

  • Redesigned front cover and frame to reduce the aluminium amount and the number of pieces; this measure reduced costs and simplified assembly
  • Eliminated intermediate transport between production processes, saving costs and reducing the environmental impact
  • Redesigned metallic side structure to decrease the weight and production needs, and make the assembly process easier
  • Using plastic parts to make recycling easier
  • Including an end-of-life paragraph in the user manual, where recyclable materials are identified and dismantling simplified for separation purposes

Key benefits 

The ecodesign of the fume cupboard managed to reduce the aluminium amount by 56.1 % in the front cover and by 12.5 % in the fixed window frame. It also led to less components: 14 pieces have been removed in the new design. Replacing the iron side structures also reduced the amount of iron used by 53 kg.

These measures generated costs savings as well:

  • € 14 040 per year saved in aluminium materials
  • € 40 000 per year saved in steel materials

Burdinola has completed an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) – a document that communicates verified, transparent and comparable information about the environmental impact of products in line with the international standard ISO 14025 – for the Fume Cupboard BECOME ST1500.

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