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The Store Smart program optimizes sample access, reduces risks related to freezer use, and saves energy.
- 10.6.15 — UC launches Cool Campus Challenge in a push toward carbon neutrality
- 10.1.15 — 9 ways to get your green on!
- 11.25.14 — Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to campus
- 11.12.14 — Fresh idea brings campus produce to UC Davis pantry
- 7.15.14 — Drought impact study: California agriculture faces greatest water loss ever seen
Take Action: Green Your Lab
The Green Lab Program at UC Davis provides achievable steps that you can take toward a greener workplace and celebrates accomplishments with recognition.
The program is a campus-wide, points-based system that evaluates sustainable actions implemented by your group. Everyone in the lab -- principal investigator, lab managers, post docs, graduate and undergraduate students – supports the effort by participating in conservation measures that will increase your efficiency and sustainability.
Your research group earns points as everyone adopts best practices in eight categories: energy, waste, water, electronics, green chemistry, transportation, field work, and community. Focusing on these eight categories helps your group work towards Bronze, Silver, or Gold certification.
We hope you will find the program to be fun and fulfilling.
Why become a Green Lab?
Did you know that laboratory buildings use approximately 3-5 times as much energy per square foot as an office or classroom, as shown in the figure? This is true for other resources as well: water, solid waste, chemicals, and electronics.
The UC system has committed to goals of Zero Waste by 2020 and Carbon Neutrality by 2025. In response to these goals, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability created the Green Lab program. There are about 3,000 labs at UC Davis, so lab operations play an important role in campus sustainability performance.
By participating in Green Lab, a research group will:
- Save campus resources and money
- Improve re-use of supplies and equipment, as well as reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact
- Build community/collegial relationships and empower employees at work
- Be recognized for sustainability efforts, thereby promoting Green Lab practices among other campus departments and throughout the community
Green lab practices ranging from freezer management to water conservation, pipette tip boxes and foam cooler recycling, chemical volume reduction and fume hood sash closures can save hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. Help your equipment last longer and create a safer lab environment.
How to become a Green Lab
- Learn about the Green Lab program
- Commit to the program with leadership endorsement; inform and enroll your lab members
- Assess and act by finding areas to improve, and make and document sustainable changes
- Certify and celebrate—when done, you will receive a framed certificate and other recognition
Step 1: Learn
- One person or more in your department learns about the program from this material, or goes to a Green Lab workshop (schedule on Green Lab webpage).
- Get the approval of your director, MSO or supervisor by briefing them (10-15 min) on the program. Ask us if you would like us to lead or assist with the briefing.
Step 2: Commit
- Establish at least one Green Champion in your lab. They will:
- Organize your Green Team – including purchasing, IT, management and other key staff.
- Define your green vision—what is it about conserving resources that fits with your departmental values; what are your goals? Your PI should write their reason for participation in the assessment.
- Arrange a kick-off meeting for your whole staff to get everyone oriented and on board (20-40 minutes). You will get a “swag bag” of sustainable goodies, games, two lunch vouchers, and a “Sustainabili-tree” to put staff pledges on! Our staff can lead or assist with the kick-off, or if you want to run this yourself, all materials are available: slides, swag & Sustainabili-tree.
Step 3: Assess and act
- Your Green Team will meet with Green Workplace staff for a laboratory walk-through to identify energy and waste savings opportunities.
- Assess current “green” practices and create list of suggested improvements.
- Take the Green Leaf Assessment, which everyone in your laboratory should complete. It describes personal actions they can take in their immediate workspace or when traveling to work.
- Consider requesting desk-side recycling, composting program or a waste audit.
- Consider whether temporary electrical measurements are valuable for some circuits (ESS may fund selected projects).
- Your Green Team will track your progress and score on a Green Laboratory Assessment. The assessment is very thorough! We will schedule a Green Office Hour with you to help you fill it out.
- Bonus Points: Innovative and exemplary performance is rewarded by extra points.
Step 4: Certify and celebrate
- At the conclusion your lab-wide score and any bonus points are added for a final score.
- For Bronze certification, laboratories need at least 25% of checklist points
- For Silver certification, laboratories need at least 60% of the points
- For Gold certification, laboratories need at least 80% of the points
- You will receive a framed plaque with your lab’s name and Green Team members’ names.
- We will send a Green Workplace certification graphic that you can use in your email signature.
- Additional stickers and promotional items may be available.
- Certification is good for 2 years.
Who has participated and how long will it take?
Green Labs programs are underway in about a dozen campuses across the nation and in the UK, Denmark, and Belgium, to name some international partners.
Here at UC Davis, Dr. Bruce German’s group in the Robert Mondavi Food Science and Technology Department was the pioneer Green Lab group to complete the process. They found it to be a team-building experience and an intuitive process.
Green Lab is very comprehensive while also customizable to almost every lab. We designed it to complement and enhance your research. We recommend pursuing the program during one or two quarters, or about 3-4 months total, at a steady pace. Your group may go faster or slower if you wish.
The Green Workplace Resources page has additional information on programs that dovetail with the Green Lab program.