Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.59
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Irvine
IN-19: Green Laboratory Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Carrie Metzgar
Sustainability and Planning Analyst
Campus Physical and Environmental Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have or participate in a green laboratory program?:

Does the institution’s green laboratory program address the following?:
Yes or No
Energy conservation and efficiency, e.g., fume hood ("shut the sash") and freezer maintenance programs Yes
Water conservation and efficiency Yes
Chemical use and disposal Yes
Materials management, e.g., green purchasing guidelines and recycling and reuse programs Yes
Training for lab users on sustainable practices Yes

A brief description of the institution's green laboratory program:

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainable operations, UCI launched the UCI Green Labs program (https://sustainability.uci.edu/green-lab/) in 2017 to help facilitate sustainable practices in campus laboratories while supporting research integrity and safety. UCI Green Labs consists of a comprehensive self-assessment of sustainable practices including energy use, water use, green chemistry, field work, waste management, and purchasing. Laboratory staff work collaboratively to complete the assessment, identify sustainable practices to implement, and become officially Green Labs certified.

To support and implement the program, UCI created the Green Labs Working Group. This group consists of 10 employees who are experts in the fields of water, waste, energy, green chemistry, research, and procurement. Working group members educate their peers in campus laboratories on sustainability behaviors and actions according to their areas of expertise. UCI works in consultation with My Green Lab (https://www.mygreenlab.org/), a non-profit focused on laboratory sustainability, to help conduct and support the laboratory assessments. Each participating lab receives a “Green Goody Bag” containing an assortment of signs, labels, and tools for their lab to use and incorporate into their space. View the downloadable signs here: https://sustainability.uci.edu/printable-resources-green-labs/

The UCI Green Labs Program addresses each of the following areas:

- Energy Conservation and Efficiency:

Program staff help to install outlet timers, switch light bulbs to LED, provide freezer maintenance education, and resolve thermostat issues. All participating labs receive coil dusters to help remove unwanted dust from freezers, helping freezers to use less energy and run more efficiently. Labs also receive ice scrapers to remove excess ice and maintain seals of freezers. Recently, the program developed helpful signage for labs to display, including “Shut the Sash” signs, plug load reminder signs, and freezer maintenance date reminders. The “Energy Conservation” webpage contains additional information and tips: https://sustainability.uci.edu/energy-conservation-green-labs/

- Water Conservation and Efficiency:

All participating labs receive copies of the “Report Water Leaks” sign to serve as a helpful reminder to maintain sink stations. The “Water Conservation” webpage contains additional information and tips: https://sustainability.uci.edu/water-conservation-green-labs/. UCI was awarded a grant to purchase 425 flow restrictors, supporting reductions in campus potable water use in research laboratories. The flow restrictors reduce water flow from 2 gallons per minute (GPM) to 0.74 GPM. The flow restrictors were installed in five research buildings and water measurements are being conducted to compare water usage before and after installation.

- Chemical Use and Disposal:

Participating labs discuss green chemistry with the UCI Green Labs Working Group and are provided resources to support them with chemical use and proper disposal. For example, labs are educated on the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry (https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/greenchemistry/what-is-green-chemistry/principles/12-principles-of-green-chemistry.html) and also provided the Green Chemistry Experiment Guide (https://www.mygreenlab.org/uploads/2/1/9/4/21945752/green_chemistry_principles_and_lab_practices_2.0.pdf).

- Materials Management:

Program staff ensure labs have the designated laboratory recycling signage posted to all lab recycling bins and provide additional signage as needed. Each lab receives the UCI Styrofoam Bin Recycling Location poster to inform of designated recycling locations on campus. By request, UCI Green Labs hosted "Let's Talk Procurement," an informational training session educating research groups on how to navigate UCIBuy, the campus eCommerce portal. The in-person session demonstrated how to locate energy efficient products and complete a purchase. The “Waste Management” and “Sustainable Purchasing” webpages contains additional information and tips: https://sustainability.uci.edu/waste-management-green-labs/ and https://sustainability.uci.edu/sustainable-purchasing/

- Training for Lab Users on Sustainable Practices:

A key component of UCI’s program is the “implementation phase.” This phase entails connecting participating labs with working group members to discuss and conduct training on specific areas where additional support may be needed. Prior to the pandemic, training was held in-person during laboratory visits; the training has since transitioned to a virtual setting.

Each lab is also encouraged to watch My Green Lab’s four training videos on energy, waste and recycling, water, and community. https://www.mygreenlab.org/training-videos.html

- All areas covered:

As a welcome to the program, all labs receive a copy of the UCI Green Labs Welcome Guide. This guide contains one-page checklists for each of the following sustainability categories: energy, water, waste, purchasing, and community. See Welcome Guide here: https://sustainability.uci.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Welcome-Guide-UPDATED.pdf

Following completion of the baseline assessment, each lab receives their own personalized feedback report containing a summary of their results and suggestions for making improvements in 14 different categories (Energy, plug load, water, green chemistry, purchasing, recycling, etc.). View sample feedback report here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xxB2vedPYcII043iX9Auc-Q7TtFIMCc6/view?usp=sharing

Website URL where information about the green laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

During 2020, when research transitioned to being remote (and then eventually staggered schedules) UCI Green Labs developed Sustainable Tips for Remote Research (https://sustainability.uci.edu/green-labs-at-home/). The article provides tips to stay green when conducting research remotely and communicating with other lab members.

In January 2021, UCI released the Green Lab Action Plan (Plan) (https://sustainability.uci.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/UCI-Green-Lab-Action-Plan-2021.pdf). The Plan provides a program overview, highlights, and a strategy and vision for achieving sustainability goals and targets.

This credit was prepared by:
Carrie Metzgar
UCI Green Labs Program Manager
Co-Chair UC Systemwide Green Labs Working Group
Campus Physical and Environmental Planning

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.