By Dalena Huynh | Jun 15, 2016

There are many Green Laboratories at the University of Washington who practice sustainabliity every day. The Green Lab Certification program was created to recognize these labs, while providing resources for labs who want to improve their practices. This spring, the Green Lab program gave awards to those certified labs which showed outstanding performance even among the select group of certified Green Labs.

The Greenest Lab award for 2015-2016 went to the ZaP Flow Z-Pinch Lab from the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department. They received the highest overall score of 111% in the Green Laboratory Certification (the certification application provides opportunities for bonus points, allowing labs to score higher than 100%). This lab dedicates their research to sustainable energy from plasma, which does not produce waste. They are constantly reevaluating their operational sustainable practices, including reusing much of their materials in their research.

The Most Improved Lab honor was given to the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences' Tissue Culture Lab. This is a collaborative lab that shares tissue culture, equipment and instrument space with other labs in the department. They went from not reaching the Green Lab certification requirement on their first submission to acheiving Gold level certification.

Many labs that applied for Green Lab Certification implemented noteworthy innovations. But,there’s one that stands out the most. The Department of Chemistry's Zalatan Lab won best innovation for their use aluminum beads in place of water baths. The Zalatan Lab researches cell-signaling mechanisms, and by using the eco-friendly beads they use less electricity, and the beads are recyclable.

Labs have a massive impact on the University's energy use; they use about four times more energy than office spaces of the same size. The Green Laboratory program recognizes labs that are sustainable and provides resources and help for all labs to improve their sustainability practices. Labs are surveyed on energy usage, communication, waste, chemical usage, water usage, and work-related travel. Learn more about the program here.