Laboratories are one of the main generators of waste not just at the University of Washington, but also around the world. Using about 4 times more energy than an office of the same size, laboratories have an enormous impact on a university's energy bill. Despite their huge impact, little activity or assistance has been available for laboratories to decrease their environmental impact. There are almost no Energy Star rated laboratory equipment options available in the current market, very few effective ways of recycling or reusing laboratory chemicals and supplies, and laboratory facilities are often not built to allow for sustainabile design to lessen their use of energy and water. With the University of Washington receiving the most grant money out of any other public institution in the United States and harboring over 4,500 laboratories on campus alone, it is time for us to lead the way in implementing sustainable laboratory practices and use the power of our innovation to help UW and the world lesson the impact of their laboratory operations.
The Green Laboratory Program includes a Certification, Resources, and a Freezer Cleaning Kit. The Certification is used to assess Laboratories on their practices, including their energy usage, purchasing choices, waste diversion, and more! Through the certification, Laboratories are given a rating of Gold, Silver, or Bronze based on the practices they are currently doing. After applying for certification, the laboratories are given feedback of what they can do to become even more sustainable based on the laboratories practices. The Green Laboratory Resources are a great place for laboratories to learn more about implementing criteria from the certification program, and helps to educate laboratories on what they can do to go above and beyond. Lastly, the Freezer Cleaning Kit offered through the Green Laboratory Program allows laboratory members to rent out a freezer brush, scrapper, and freezer gloves to help keep the inside of their freezer clean. By cleaning their freezers, laboratories can ensure that all freezer space is being used efficiently and that the freezers are running efficiently, and thereby using as little energy as possible!