The FAS Green Lab Certification program is a customized approach to identifying and addressing opportunities for waste and energy reduction in labs across campus. The collaborative process involves working with lab members to identify sustainability opportunities within their spaces, and sharing best practices related to energy efficiency, water reduction, lab material recycling, purchasing, and toxic waste reduction and prevention. By implementing simple and effective changes, the process often leads to a more efficient workflow and organized space.
The Green Lab Certification process consists of three main steps:
- The first step is to meet with a lab representative, get some background information on the lab, and do a walkthrough of the lab and office areas. This usually takes about one hour.
- Next, we will review the findings from our initial meeting, and come up with a list of recommendations. We then will work with the lab representative to schedule a presentation for the lab group, to share the results and get feedback from the group. The presentation is usually about 10 minutes long, and often we can schedule these to occur during a regular group meeting.
- The lab members will agree on three objectives to pursue from the list of recommendations. Sample objectives include improving recycling procedures (both in the lab and office areas), putting equipment on automatic timers so they can be turned off overnight, or defrosting freezers that have significant ice buildup. We will support the lab in achieving the objectives as much as possible, so there is minimal time commitment involved on the part of the lab members.
Impact and Benefits
The Green Lab Certification program can benefit your lab in the following ways:
- Tailored feedback on sustainability questions pertaining to your lab- from recycling questions to energy efficient purchase recommendations.
- Access to free resources and programs- including the FAS Freezer Preventative Maintenance Program for -80 freezers, the Labs Reuse List, outreach materials, etc.
- Improved awareness of your fellow lab members on topics related to waste reduction and energy conservation.
- The ability to pioneer new initiatives and establish pilot programs- such as composting, Styrofoam recycling, acid recycling, etc.
- A more organized lab environment and workflow.
- A sense of community with fellow lab members and other Green Labs!
Here are a few highlights from recent efforts:
- The Engert Lab from MCB improved the recycling infrastructure and procedures in their lab so that more items can be diverted from the waste stream.
- The Dulac Lab from MCB implemented a two stream process to reduce autoclaving needs.
- The Zhuang Lab from CCB switched from using 5 gallon water bottles to a water filtration system in their common area- saving money and plastic waste.
- The Francis Lab from MCB started turning off their shakers when not in use, reducing the energy consumption of these units by 50%.