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Green Labs

Category: Energy Demand, Energy Efficiency

Laboratory spaces are often the most energy intensive spaces on campuses, consuming 4 to 5 times the energy of typical commercial spaces and accounting for up to 70% of a given campus’ energy footprint. This substantial impact makes laboratories a key focus area for energy, waste, and carbon management. Green Lab programs often address both energy conservation and waste reduction opportunities. These may include purchasing energy efficient equipment, designing experiments to minimize electricity and water usage, purchasing green supplies, maintaining lab equipment to maximize efficiency, utilizing green chemistry practices, sharing of lab space and equipment when feasible, and training of staff and students in green lab practices. Many of these best practices are often rolled up into a Green Labs Certification program to help guide labs in improving their environmental footprint. Done right, green lab practices can greatly reduce waste and energy consumption in labs without sacrificing the integrity or accuracy of scientific results.


  • Lower laboratory utility and operating costs
  • Reduced health and safety risks
  • Improved facility management
  • Reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduced waste


  • Resistance to modifying scientific methods
  • Limited EnergyStar-rated lab equipment
  • Few utility rebate programs for laboratory equipment
  • Lack of green lab products on market (still emerging)


  • GHG Impact


    Laboratory buildings use over 3-4x more energy than average buildings on campus. Small adjustments can go a long way.

  • Economic Impact

    Net Savings

    Practices such as lowering refrigerators by a couple degrees have immediate payback; whereas, purchasing more energy efficient lab equipment will have a multiple year ROI.

  • Feasibility

    Some Challenges

    Behavioral and training changes easy to implement.  Equipment investment may take more effort

  • Timeline

    1-2 years

    Adjusting laboratory procedures can be done immediately. Replacing laboratory equipment will take longer. 

  • Maintenance


  • Publicity

    That's really cool

    Green Lab Certification programs can be made available for publication.


  • Rachael Relph Chief Sustainability Officer My Green Labs Contact
  • Shane Stennes Director of Sustainability University of Minnesota Contact