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UW Today
A soils lab has achieved the highest score yet in the UW's Green Laboratory Certification Program
January 28, 2014

A soils lab that schedules fieldwork to minimize car trips, reuses sampling containers and recycles soils and leftover plant material has achieved the highest score yet in the University of Washington’s 10-month-old Green Laboratory certification program.

With an overall score of 95 percent, Tom DeLuca’s environmental and forest sciences lab has just topped the 93 percent previously earned by a UW Bothell chemistry instructional lab.

The labs are among 16 so far certified through the UW’s Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability office. Labs earn points by, for example, keeping freezers and refrigerators at efficient temperatures and right-sizing experiments to minimize chemical and water use, according to program coordinator Caileigh Shoot, a UW undergraduate.

Laboratories use about five times as much energy per square foot as a typical building, which was among the reasons to start a green lab certification program, Shoot said.

The DeLuca lab is used by half a dozen graduate students, according to lab manager Amanda Bidwell. She started organizing the biogeochemical lab last year by recycling and sending to surplus little-used equipment. Equipment that stayed has been labeled with reminders to unplug when not in use to avoid “vampire power,” the electricity many gadgets waste just being plugged in, even if they are switched off.