Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.87
Liaison Kevin Kirsche
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Georgia
IN-19: Green Laboratory Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Kevin Kirsche
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:
The UGA Green Lab Program is managed by Facilities Management Division in collaboration for Environmental Safety Division and Office of Research.

The program is housed in FMD and was developed as a partnership between the Office of the Vice President for Research, Environmental Safety Division, Facilities Management Division, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Veterinary Medicine. This program is modeled after successful programs at UC Boulder and UC Davis and upon full implementation will be serving nearly 2000 research labs on our main campus.

Research labs use 5-10 times the water, energy and chemicals of an office or classroom. They are a massive consumer of resources. The purpose of this program is to reduce energy, water and waste while enhancing safety and environmental compliance in our labs. It was designed to promote and support world-class science by engaging researchers in best practices which meet the above goals. This program will save UGA an estimated $187,000 in energy, water, and waste disposal costs annually.

Energy and Water initiatives include a Shut the Sash campaign for fume hoods, refined fume hood face velocity test protocols, a “temperature tuning” campaign for ultra low temperature freezers, refrigeration equipment repair tracking, equipment trade-in incentives, participation in the North American Freezer Challenge, a cold room upgrade program, and autoclave leak detection. Labs are provided with timers for bench-top equipment, such as water baths, to allow for auto shut-down and power-up to conserve energy. Water-saving units have been placed on all UGA campus autoclaves, and are regularly inspected for failed valves. A single autoclave with a failed solenoid valve can waste up to 2.6 million gallons of water a year (about $24,000 annually). Thus, we educate our users to know what a failed valve sounds like and offer assistance to immediately repair any failed valves found. These above combined initiatives have the potential to save over $166,000 in annual energy and water costs.

Waste Reduction and Recycling initiatives include laboratory plastics recycling, composting animal cage bedding, and guidance for reduced packaging. These initiatives have the potential to save over $12,600 in landfill tipping fees. The UGA Green Lab Program participates in the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories Lab Waste Diversion Group, and is designing a lab recycling program to meet researchers' needs. We are actively composting animal bedding from several of our vivariums, which is returned to the landscaping on campus. Additionally, we are collaborating with other departments on campus, such as the Lamar Dodd School of Art, to repurpose hard to recycle items. A lab waste audit is underway in the UGA Environmental Health Science building to further inform these programs and their development.

Proposed Green Chemistry and Safety initiatives include chemical substitution and chemical sharing, both aimed at reducing UGA’s costly annual hazardous waste disposal. Labs are encouraged to substitute less hazardous chemicals using the M.I.T. Green Chemistry Wizard website, and scale down experiments, when possible.

All researchers who participate in the Green Lab program are provided a consultation resulting in specific guidance for their lab, as well as additional information and training needed to carry out these recommended initiatives.

Green Lab Programs not only conserve resources, but help to create a culture of sustainably-minded individuals by engaging in behavioral modification and practices that constantly reinforce one’s commitment to sustainability. Additionally, a widely-observed byproduct of Green Lab Programs is an increase in lab safety (by measurement of a decrease in lab inspection deficiencies), and a new awareness of finer details in a lab environment.


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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Contact/source: Star Scott, Green Lab Program Coordinator

Contact/source: Star Scott, Green Lab Program Coordinator

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