Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.15
Liaison Andrea Trimble
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Virginia
IN-19: Green Laboratory Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Andrea Trimble
Director - Office for Sustainability
Office for 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:

UVA has a Green Labs as well as a Smart Labs Program:


Research labs are an important aspect of UVA’s mission, but are energy, water, and material intensive. At UVA, labs account for over 30% of the University’s energy use despite accounting for only approximately 16% of the square footage. Because of the immense opportunity to reduce energy, water, and waste, the Green Labs Working Group and the Office for Sustainability have developed a Green Labs program to focus on three areas:

Outreach and Action: a Green Lab certification program and associated resources
Programs and Resources: specialized lab recycling, freezer and other energy efficiency programs, events, and training

Infrastructure: Sustainable lab standards, evaluation, and implementation for new construction, renovations, and existing buildings

Energy conservation and efficiency, e.g. chemical fume hood ("shut the sash") and freezer maintenance programs:
The Green Labs Program conducted UVA's first Shut the Sash competition in October 2017 for the following buildings: MR5, Pinn Hall, the Chemistry Building, and the Physical Life Sciences Building. This friendly competition promoted safe, smart, and sustainable practices when using a fume hood. Fume hood sash sensors in PLSB revealed a 32% improvement on average sash position after the start of the competition. The award-winning labs who championed this cause help to make their lab spaces safer and more sustainable.

Laboratory Freezer Challenge
Used for the preservation of sensitive samples and reagents, freezers are a common find in laboratories but are extremely energy-intensive. In the Spring of 2017, UVA participated in the International North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge and received an Honorable Mention Award for saving close to 40,000 kWh per year. Check out the Sustainability Blog to read more about our labs’ efforts to save energy, and register for the Spring 2018 Freezer Challenge.

Water conservation and efficiency
UVA’s Green Labs Program is addressing water conservation practices through upgrades in lab building’s technology through the Delta Force Program. For occupants, the Green Labs Pilot Program has a water section of the checklist that encourage lab occupants to reduce water through efficient washing/sterilizing and installing aerators on faucets.

Chemical use and disposal
The University’s Chemistry Department, all chemical orders are made through a central stockroom and one purchaser. Funneling purchases through their stockroom personnel helps reduce over-purchasing. It is also much safer to have harmful chemicals arriving at a single location where they are reliably received and distributed by trained staff who are proficient in the handling and procurement of chemicals. Additionally, chemicals can be purchased in bulk, preventing multiple shipments of similar items, and inventories are tracked uniformly via Chematix chemical inventory software system.

Materials management, e.g. green purchasing guidelines and recycling and reuse programs
Our Green Labs Program promotes the purchase of products utilizing the ACT label, an environmental impact factor indicator specific to lab materials. Some UVA labs also participate in nitrile glove take-back programs like the Kimberly-Clark Right Cycle program. Gloves are sent back to the manufacturer where they are processed into pellets used for recycling into new products. Similarly, we are working with VWR (vendor) to promote their new “Gown Up, Give Back” program in which disposable medical gowns used in animal research can be sent back to vendors for recycling. A pilot program targeting lab-specific waste materials is currently underway in UVA’s largest campus research building, and all labs at UVA continue to have access to general recycling services in their buildings. When materials or large pieces of equipment are no longer in use in a lab space, there is a process through which fixed assets are reliably handled through our surplus system and the University Comptroller.

Training for lab users on sustainable practices
In the past, Green Labs has attended and provided training at department seminars, research committee meetings, graduate student organizational meetings, and individual lab meetings. UVA Green Labs also creates and develops events and workshops open for any University research personnel to attend such as our Green Labs Resource Fair and the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle lab event series. The Resource Fair is a tabling event that brings together vendors so they can showcase their exceptionally sustainable products and services. Our Green Labs Working Group frequently participates in the most up-to-date training for sustainable lab practices and subsequently carries new ideas and best practices to their contacts in campus lab spaces.

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

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