Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.31
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Aug. 9, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
IN-19: Green Laboratory Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Natalie Walker
Sustainability Manager
Penn 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 numerous labs on campus provide a prime opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and help us reach the goals set forth in Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0. Penn Sustainability created the Green Labs Guide to provide overall guidelines for lab greening and recognizes that some labs will be able to complete more actions than others. The Green Labs Guide describes daily, monthly and annual actions that can be done to consistently make labs on campus greener.

To address energy conservation and efficiency, Penn's Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Efficiency Program provides $500 towards the cost of decommissioning and recycling old, under-utilized freezers as well as $1,000-$2,500 in incentives to purchase more energy-efficient freezers. Additionally, by ""chilling up"" freezers from -80C to -70C and from -40/-30C to -20C, the freezers use 30-40% less energy with no harm to samples. Fume hoods are closed to save energy. Depending on the chemicals being used, it may be possible to dial down the ventilation fume hoods from 100-150 cubic feet per minute (cfm) to 80 cfm to reduce wasted energy by about half.

To promote water conservation in labs, the Green Labs Guide encourages using the lowest grade water appropriate, soaking rather than continuous flushing, and using reverse osmosis or ion exchange methods to filter water when possible. It also recommends running a recirculating loop through a cold-water bath as an alternative to running water down the drain, turning off water baths each evening, and investing in a waterless water bath.

EHRS provides a list of solvent alternatives that are safer and better for the environment while still fulfilling the same functional need as less sustainable chemicals. Non-hazardous waste is not included with hazardous waste in order to increase cost efficiency, and waste information is provided by EHRS (which also provides information on proper waste disposal and waste pickup).

Penn provides standardized recycling and trash signage from FRES and encourages a centralized trash and desk-side recycling system to make recycling as easy as possible. EHRS also provides a battery collection service, and labs can sign up for Managed Print to reduce printing waste.

Lab members are trained on all previously mentioned practices as well as additional methods covered in the Green Labs guide. Lab members are also encouraged to attend Green Lab meetings. In submitting the Green Labs commitment form, at least 75% of the lab's members must sign the form certifying that they have read and understand the Green Labs guide and are committed to taking action to improve the lab's sustainability.

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

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2019 "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0." This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY20 year and compares them to the FY09 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0." The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton Center has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.