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Green Labs

Category: Energy Demand, Energy Efficiency

Green Lab programs are focused behavior change programs that address energy conservation, safety, and waste reduction opportunities. Programs may include 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.Green Lab programs are focused on changes people in the labs can make. Green Lab programs are most effective when paired with a related Smart Labs program.

Benefits

  • Lower laboratory utility and operating costs
  • Reduced health and safety risks
  • Improved facility management
  • Reduced waste

Challenges

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

Impacts

  • GHG Impact

    Large

    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

    Moderate

  • Publicity

    That's cool

    Green Lab Certification programs can be made available for publication.

Experts

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