Autoclaves on House Steam: Metering Results of Electricity, Steam, and Water Usage

Elizabeth Stoneham, University of Colorado Boulder, Green Labs

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) Green Labs Program is conducting a study to better understand the consumption of autoclaves on house steam. Metered data will be collected for electricity, steam, and water use by two autoclaves as cycle parameters are modified. One autoclave is an older unit and the other is a new unit that was selected for energy and water efficiency features. We expect this study to be a good addition to the study already conducted and shared by the University of California Riverside where energy data was collected for stand-alone autoclaves without house steam. Autoclaves are an essential tool in many research labs across campus. They are used to sterilize a variety of materials such as metal or glass equipment, glassware, media, and biohazardous waste. However, there is still much opportunity to better understand the consumption of autoclaves and how that consumption changes as the details of autoclave operations are varied. The CU Boulder Green Labs Program is currently investigating these questions for house steam autoclaves.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the different ways steam is produced and used by autoclaves.
  • Learn about the metering set-up used on two house steam autoclaves to better under the consumption of these units.
  • Learn the steam, water, and electric power usage numbers of two models of autoclaves that utilize house steam.
  • Understand the impact of cycle variations and operating conditions on steam, water, and electricity usage for two different models of autoclaves that use house steam while maintaining passing sterilization tests.


Elizabeth Stoneham is a graduate student pursuing her Master of Science in Power Electronics and Energy. She has been working with Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar and the CU Green Labs program as a student assistant since Fall 2017 and has assisted with Green Lab poster design and distribution, fume hood checks, plastic and foam recycling, and most recently this study on autoclave behavior and energy efficiency.


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