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Projects Updates for Green Research Committee

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  1. Green Research Committee 4th Meeting

    September 20, 2023 Green Research Committee Meeting 4


    Present: Stephanie Hess, Tim Mies, Jennifer Fraterrigo, Paul Foote, Jeremy Neighbors, Shari Effert-Fanta, Lisa Moore, Morgan White, Chad Stevens, Sabrina Summers, Maisie Kingren, Daphne Hulse


    Absent: Mitchell Bryant


    High-level overview (Jeremy leads)

    • Full-time GR Coordinator
      • Reduce, reuse, and recycle campaign headed by the new coordinator.
    • Centralized location for chemicals
      • Tim: are there concerns or risks with transporting.
      • Stephanie: opportunity for reuse. Repurpose bottles. ECE, MRL, SCS (no space here though). Various locations that we can split up. Lot of labs have bottles that they use up
    • Grad student to help coordinate reduce, reuse, recycle. Additional student supports the GR coordinator with tasks as needed.
      • Morgan: need a full-time staff person for GR. But it is not enough. Need a student or two at least, to help support the staff. Without at least 2 paid students, you won’t get far. 40 hours’ worth of student time? During the school year, sometimes 2 students doing part-time still is not enough.
      • Jen: maybe consider what we need first for the program, before determining how many students to include (and staff). Start modest with our first proposal, with the expectation that we will build over time.
      • Paul: typically hire 2-5 students, some stay through the summer, to help with his energy-specific lab programs.
    • Where will this GR program reside? OVCRI office, with input from Madhu, Susan, and Ehab.
      • Morgan: is it in DRS or is it in iSEE? Both are under VCRI, so that makes sense. It is about sustainability with research. Include requirements in the job description to directly communicate to various stakeholders: research,
      • Paul: green research is all about change and adapting, which isn’t necessarily DRS culture. iSEE is always rolling out new initiatives and is very fluid.
      • Lisa: DRS works with regulation; sustainability is not regulation. Thought DRS first, but then looked into iSEE and thought that GR can be more easily built out under iSEE.
      • Morgan: happy to host it under F&S, but it makes more sense to have it under VCRI.
      • Jen: PI who has a lab perspective: already have a relationship with the audit. Potential to have a partnership with DRS in this new way.
      • Chad: safety is paramount over sustainability, so agree with Jen.
      • Stephanie: conversation with Daphne showed that breaking down barriers between units is very possible.
    • GR ambassadors (Jeremy)
      • Every department would have GR ambassadors, encourage it at the lab level. Would work routinely with the GR coordinator to roll out
      • Training curriculum, system for communicating what’s going on, what metrics we have, what results we’re seeing.
      • Behavior of labs and groups. Reduce, reuse, recycle campaign.
      • Shut the sash, use of equipment timers, can implement on day one.
      • Promoting some type of certification. Implement GR in other ways. Lab assessment tools (UIUC based internal, or MyGreenLab).
      • Certification would be a longer-term goal with the GR coordinator.
    • Incentives
      • Recognition is the primary way
      • Stephanie: faculty peer pressure, you want to be that person that is recognized for these initiatives. Susan promote some of these people might be good, too.
      • Chad: could there be monetary award for the research group for their future research. $2500 not a lot, $10K much more head-turning.
      • Tim Mies: Illinois Professionals (highlights), HR. Would that model work for this?
      • Stephanie: working with Patty to work on awards for safety (Oscars for safety). Could work well with research.
    • Communication and education
      • Well-developed education and outreach program for what we will do.
    • Safe energy conservation plans
      • Form task forces to address the two different processes in the charge:
        • How to hibernate labs
        • How to deal with renovation projects
      • Fully funded capital projects, facilities with significant infrastructure deficiencies, facilities without significant infrastructure deficiencies. Would need to be very collaborative. Building-by-building basis.
      • Morgan: 1.5 years to complete a campus facility assessment. December of 2024 all info will be up to date. It won’t cover all portions, because it’s more visual. How are the fume hoods being used?
      • Stephanie: Wondering the same question.
      • Chad: We don’t want to shut off a fume hood forever. There’s always going to be some revolving research based on grants, etc.GR coordinator could look into high-efficiency fume hoods. Need to have campus support for green energy.
      • Shari: Agree with Chad, with Paul’s team coming in, they can see where improvements can be made. Incur energy savings but not lose the capacity. Finding unique ways to do that. Install the newer technology, like low-flow, high-efficiency will go a long way in meeting iCAP goals. Need help with things that are outside the department’s DOR.
      • Paul: Agree with everyone. Shut down almost all hoods at the top floor of Soybean. Morrill Hall needs a lot of help with renovations. Helped get them out during a pilot program. There are other places that use them 24/7 and they are clean and well managed. We see it all.
    • Additional resource for kick-off
      • GR coordinator, communications team, IT support
  2. Green Research Committe 3rd meeting

    June 6, 2023 Green Research Committee Meeting 3

    Present: Shari Effert-Fanta, Paul Foote, Jennifer Fraterrigo, Stephanie Hess, Daphne Hulse, Tim Mies, Lisa Moore, Jeremy Neighbors, Chad Stevens, Sabrina Summers

    Absent: Mitchell Bryant, Maisie Kingren, Morgan White

    Charge 1

    • Consolidated information document, provided by Jeremy
      • Walkthrough the document
      • We should be aiming to staff a Green Research Director
        • And then staff underneath the director
          • Could be student workers or full-time employees
      • Short term goals
      • Long term goals
    • Chemical inventory - Stephanie
      • Central inventory funded by campus
      • Stuck out to Susan Martinis as an opportunity worth exploring
    • Engagement role out - Jen
      • Integrate it with the annual lab meetings with DRS staff to ensure safety compliance
        • A great point in time to evaluate opportunities with sustainability each year
        • Allows opportunity for face time with green research. Especially considering how busy PIs are
      • Lab audits - Stephanie
        • Are already quite long - DRS has a year-long timeline to get these done
        • Can sprinkle in sustainability opportunities here and can combine safety and sustainability (shut the sash)
      • Lunch & Learns are great in theory but maybe are not going to show strong attendance in practice
    • Where does this green research live? What does it tie into? - Jeremy
      • OVCRI, iSEE?
      • October timeline is best according to Susan, Madhu, and Ehab because spring is when budgeting takes place. Allows them to go and ask for funding
      • Extension is possible but the timeline for budgeting is improved if we can get it in by October
      • Chem inventory is digestible as we can save a lot of money if chemicals are better managed
        • Burden would be on the researchers to manage what comes in and out
        • Could argue for a person to do this, but Stephanie thinks it is more wise to ask campus to pursue purchasing a software and then researchers input the information
        • DRS does not have staffing or funds currently to do such a program
    • Funding Inventory software - Stephanie shared document

    Charge 2

    • Comprehensive certification program - Paul
      • My Green Lab already has an existing certification program
        • Flat rate for certifying a bulk number of labs (at Vancouver University, 50 labs certified for $10,000).
        • 160-170 topics that are over viewed
        • On a sliding scale (3 tiers)
        • Do a first round assessment and then come back in 6-12 months to reassess
        • Right now it does not extend beyond labs - not fieldwork or farms
          • Could still apply a lot of the stuff but we may need to do our own version of it for our labs
        • Need to be careful of the line between green labs and green research
          • Some labs are disadvantaged by the building itself
          • Want to be careful of not handcuffing researchers to achieve sustainability; they are doing important work
          • Think about behavior-based (recycling) rather than mechanical-based opportunities
        • Rewarding labs based on safety, too
          • Some only work with ethanol
          • Some work with 8,000 chemicals
          • May not be able to be audit-based for this reason
      • Could create our own that is more robust and custom to what we do at the university
      • Chad thinks the chemical inventory could tie into this portion well. Forcing the labs to take a look at what chemicals they have before purchasing more (if they are above the fire safety limit)
      • In Paul’s observations, PIs that are not included in the creation/design process mean very few labs will actually sign up
      • Opportunities to reward many:
        • Most occupant engaged building
        • Most improved building
        • Most energy saved building

    Charge 3

    • Really a facilities question, Tim is thinking.
    • Not on the researcher to be responsible for that
    • Funds are already strapped
    • Charge 3 is about how we prioritize funding for these.
    • Where do transportation costs fall?
      • Behavior-based changes like with carpooling
      • Cutting down airfare (zoom meetings)
      • Transportation of presenting research
        • Incentivize behaviors)
      • Electric vehicles
        • F&S sustainable transportation is tackling this topic currently - electric vehicles within the university fleet
        • Increasing charging infrastructure on campus
        • Figuring out how labs fit into this


    • Leave comments and suggestions on the two documents presented today


  3. Green Research Committee Informal Summary

    Associated Project(s): 

    The following is an email sent by Stephanie Hess on May 11, 2023.

    Green Research Committee,

    Jeremy and I met with Susan, Ehab, and Madhu last week to give them an update on our progress over the past few weeks. I have attached the topics discussed. Here is a brief summary of that meeting and how we propose to move forward.

    • The October deadline can be extended. However, if there are requests for campus funding, it is a good deadline since all the budget meetings with the Provost happen in the Spring. As long as we continue making progress, we will update them in October with what we have done by then.
    • When we write recommendations, we should consider the financial impact. Cost to implement and money saved following implementation.
    • Jeremy is going to put together a single document that includes the information Paul shared on Teams and more details for the topics discussed in the meeting. That will be shared with the committee.
    • Next meeting, we will discuss that document. Please read it before the meeting and write comments.

    I will try to get something on the calendar soon.




    Attached is the Informal Summary.

  4. Green Research Committe 2nd meeting

    May 2, 2023 Green Research Committee Meeting 2

    Present: Mitchell Bryant, Shari Effert-Fanta, Paul Foote, Jennifer Fraterrigo, Stephanie Hess, Daphne Hulse, Maisie Kingren, Tim Mies, Lisa Moore, Jeremy Neighbors, Chad Stevens, Sabrina Summers

    Absent: Morgan White


    • Meeting with leadership on Friday (Jeremy and Stephanie)
    • Discuss ideas for each team:
      • Team 1
        • Mitchell: outreach to graduate students who are disposing of waste. What can and cannot go down the sink and other waste diversion mechanism to keep it from reaching the environment.
        • Stephanie: what kind of waste?
        • Mitchell: plastic waste is an issue in itself in the laboratory. There’s a balance because some things need to be sterile.
        • Stephanie: can we repurpose any waste? Hexane for example can be used as fuel unless disposed of improperly.
        • Tim: every lab needs a point contact for lab safety. Don’t leave it to the students alone to know what they are doing.
        • Jen: you must have standard operating procedures in the lab safety binder. Students must review and sign off that they’ve read it. Also includes waste disposal.
        • Maisie: One point of contact for waste disposal and another contact for other responsibilities would be ideal.
        • Mitchell: not many people know to close the sash.
        • Stephanie: how to reach grad students? Stuff on walls becomes wallpaper eventually.
        • Mitchell: flyers at labs, fume hood posters, buildings have digital boards that scroll especially if it’s a lab building. Newsletters to reach different audiences.
        • Paul: fun competitions to promote good behavior. Pizza parties, trophies for winners. Chem Life Sciences proximity alarm for shutting the sash.
        • Jeremy: energy saving technology on ventilation systems. It would be good to establish a policy on what those systems should be helpful to know what we are getting out of it. Not necessarily energy, but the maintenance/safety side of reducing maintenance for things (duct/conduit). Lab space management - objective 2.1 in the iCAP. objective 4.1 is reduce water consumption. Adding to the chilled water is really expensive.
          • Paul: be a liaison between facilities on campus to know what’s going on, to coordinate, and ensure better outcomes. Nobody has a roll assigned to this.
          • Stephanie: some faculty no longer do research but still have their lab space. It may be because they think they might return in a future year. Regardless, departments need to know how many active wet labs they want to maintain. Some people are exclusively hired for outdoor lab work but still have indoor labs.
            • Safety issues arise when researchers are hired and have to use tiny spaces.
            • Research work is going more interdisciplinary as we go. The traditional way to manage space was to do it within facility, but some people need to share space across disciplines.
      • Team 2
        • My Green Lab training was very good, according to Stephanie. Could encourage grad students to do it, only an hour long.
        • Stephanie would like to composting with animal bedding.
          • Jen and Daphne have explored composting, but have found that Central Illinois is not there yet in terms of infrastructure needed to compost on a larger scale.
        • Daphne introduced recycling and waste management.
          • Currently only recycle 5 items: plastic 1 and 2, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and scrap metal.
          • There may be an opportunity to grow in our plastic 5 recycling. This is a material that seems to crop up a lot in research. Vet med is doing a small scale recycling program, and is sending their items over to ISTC.
          • Summer and fall 2023 F&S is rolling out a program to recycle paper hand towels from bathrooms and laboratories. Piloting in a few buildings this summer and upon success will roll out into more buildings. Paper towels are not heavy, but they are a source of waste in labs that can be reduced through this new program.
        • Group question - are the brown glasses for recycling, or for disposal? Stuff we don’t know about that we should explore.


  5. Geen Research Commitee 1st meeting

    April 5, 2023 Green Research Committee (Kick Off) Meeting 1

    Present: Lisa Moore, Daphne Hulse, Stephanie Hess, Jeremy Neighbors, Jennifer Fraterrigo, Chad Stevens, Shari Effert-Fanta, Sabrina Summers, Morgan White, Mitchell Bryant, Timothy Mies, Maisie Kingren, Paul Foote, Patty Jones, Susan Martinis, Madhu Khanna

    Absent: Ehab Kamarah


    • Look at what others do.
      • Makes it less onerous.
      • Check in with our peer institutions
    • Check in with our iCAP.
    • Structure what we come up with in short- and long-term goals. We have a tight timeline and a broad objective overall.


    • Two graduate students joined, which is very valuable to us.
    • Deadline to show ideas and progress and present to Ehab, Madhu, and Susan, by May. Jeremy & Stephanie will give this update and summarize what is discussed now and a general timeline going forward.
    • Morgan’s been thinking about this for 7 or 8 years, and is excited to see it come to fruition. The core is that researchers are making huge changes and breakthroughs to address climate change but we’re still buying plastic and throwing it away, leaving fume hoods open, etc. How to integrate it into research without jeopardizing the research itself, is the question to explore.
    • Messaging must be very cautious to balance safety with sustainability.
    • Opportunity to review the iCAP 2020 or 2015 objectives to identify how it applies today.
    • Green Research as opposed to Green Labs: allows us to be more broad in our approach.
    • Paul Foote spent a year just doing a Green Labs Program so he has tremendous experience and background knowledge on the subject. Don’t reinvent the wheel. I2SL, My Green Lab are good resources to look at.
    • Mitchell: Not a lot of knowledge about how to dispose of waste safely (information deficit), so he sees a lot of improper disposal as a student. A lot of opportunity for energy reduction in labs. Concerted effort across campus is necessary, but can we add the carrot (incentive) as well?
    • Tim: ACES, South Farms, see inconsistency with how waste is disposed of. Some go through Waste Transfer, others go through Area Disposal. Researchers want to do the right thing, but most people are strapped on time “how do I do it versus how do I have time in the day?” Growth chamber: big refrigerator with a lot of light bulbs. Remove the heat from lamps. Some people don’t turn them off - maintenance or researchers just forgetting. Think of a way to incentivize this? Support the researchers as much as possible.
    • Mitchell thinks is very much falls on the individual to ensure they are following the right instructors (don’t pour stains down the sink, etc.).
    • On Stephanie’s mind is a culture change for safety. How can they improve the culture of safety on campus? There is simultaneously a sustainability culture we need to grow, too.

    How to accomplish this:

    • The charge letter had three different goals:
      • Break into three groups and each would tackle one of those before the next meeting.
        • On-site wet and dry research labs, off-site UIUC research labs, agriculture land and field sites
        • Develop a program whereby groups and departments can qualify for a Green Lab or Green Research certification. Contribute to the iCAP goals.
        • Outline a framework to recommend building-specific plans for safe energy conservation
    • Sub-teams in Teams is how we will communicate among our teams.
    • Cadence of meetings?
      • Big meeting once per month, small groups on the week between (each team has a delegate for scheduling meetings for their group)
      • October deliverables - so we have until the end of September to work
    • Resources to carry this out
      • Anything that will require funding we will need to state, justify, estimate cost, expected impact from the investment.
    • Consider reward packages for research groups.
      • Rewarding research groups will be key, according to Donald Stevens
    • Paul will put together a sheet of how funding in the past has worked, for projects he’s been involved with. Give the group an idea of how we can tap into funds.
    • Stephanie: think about connections you have, things you can tap into.
      • Ex: TV screens in lab settings for safety communication. Interest from researchers for this, especially if they can get it for free. A way to communicate without needing paper. Where can we ask for favors?
    • Jen’s concern: how can we get voices from other researchers on campus and oversee labs: find opportunities and barriers?
      • Paul: successful programs have Green Ambassadors who can be a voice for the labs and can brainstorm together what will work for different labs.
      • Group agrees that more faculty PIs should be included in the conversation.
    • Donald & Morgan discussion on zero growth space policy - Capital - comes from Deferred Maintenance than any sort of energy-related issue.
    • Mitchell Bryant: attending a seminar tomorrow on this topic and will post his notes in Teams
  6. Green Lab Initiatives Take Root Around the World

    Associated Project(s): 

    Paul Foote shared the following article regarding Green Labs:

    This sustainable labs article shares a look into the current international climate regarding green labs.

    The author’s high level summation quotes green lab leaders as well as comments from NIH and HHS regrading funding and sustainability, and other key topics surrounding sustainable & green labs.

  7. Big Ten & Friends Network Event, Exploring University Sustainable Lab Certification Programs

    The following email describes an online session about various Green Lab Certification Programs.


    From: Vandenbergh, Lydia Bodman
    Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2022 8:35 AM
    To: Vandenbergh, Lydia Bodman
    Subject:BTAF Sustainable Lab Programs Presentation and Discussion - Feb 24th


    As Higher Education Institutions develop their Climate Action Plans, one opportunity repeatedly arises: culture change in our approach to research. The US Department of Energy estimates that lab buildings consume anywhere from three to ten times the energy and water of administrative and classroom buildings and generate high amounts of single use plastics and hazardous wastes. One question is, how to change the culture without compromising the integrity of the science? 


    Members of the Big Ten and Friends Network are encouraged to join together on February 24th at 11am EST to learn how three universities are promoting change in their campus labs using three variations on a green lab certification program.  

    • Ken Keeler, from the University of Michigan, will kick off the meeting describing the University’s decade-long successful program that combines a lab self-assessment and staff visit. Over 200 labs have worked through this program, but it requires substantial staff time. Ken will describe their exploration to tap efficiencies.  
    • Next is Tim Lindstrom, who leads the University of Wisconsin at Madison Green Lab Program, which is similar to the Michigan’s assessment model, but integrates a student internship component to support the labs’ efforts. 
    • University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nick Ciancio will showcase his four-year effort collaborating with MyGreenLab’s certification program, a unique pilot that UAB is eager to expand. 

    The session will conclude with time for discussion with the panelists. Please register to join in this inspirational presentation and exploration of culture change.  

    Register here  


    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information to join meeting. We are purposefully limiting the invitation to BTAF’s members to encourage a fruitful discussion, but we will record the session and make it available to share with other colleges and universities.  




    Lydia Vandenbergh (she/her)
    Associate Director of Employee Engagement and Education
    Sustainability Institute

    Penn State University

    The Pennsylvania State University campuses are located on the original homelands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), Lenape (Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee), Shawnee (Absentee, Eastern, and Oklahoma), Susquehannock, and Wahzhazhe (Osage) Nations.  As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship. We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history.

    Check out our programs:


  8. Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs - Successful

    The Sustainability Council is in support of the formation of a Green Labs Committee, as discussed at the meeting on November 29, 2021. Jan Novakofski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, also expressed support. A training component and Certified Greener Campus Program opportunities will be two items to include in committee discussions. For future updates, see the Green Labs Committee project page. 


    See transmittal and iWG assessment of Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs here. 
    See submittal of Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs here.

  9. Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs - Transmitted

    Following the completion of iWG assessment for Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs, the recommendation was transmitted and discussed at the Sustainability Council meeting on November 29, 2021.

    See iWG assessment of Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs attached.
    See submittal of Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs here.

    Attached Files: 
  10. Sustainability Council Meeting 11-29-21

    The Sustainability Council met on 11-29-21. The presentation is attached and the agenda was as follows:

    • Student group updates (SSC, SSLC, ISG)
    • Clean Energy Plan
    • Rainwater strategies
    • Green Labs
    • Strategic next steps (iCAP in campus strategic plan, AASHE STARS Platinum ranking)
  11. iWG Meeting 7-22-21

    The iCAP Working Group met on 7-22-21. Attached are the meeting minutes. The agenda was as follows: 

    1. Introductions
    2. Energy006
      1. Update on Freezer Challenge (Paul Foote) ~4 min
      2. Update on Greener Labs Inventory Toolkit (Morgan White) ~4 min
      3. Energy Team introduce the recommendation (Bill Rose, Andy Stumpf) ~8 min
      4. Group discussion ~10 min
    3. Energy007
      1. Overview of Energy Management Plan (Rob Roman) ~6 min
      2. Energy Team introduce the recommendation (Bill Rose, Andy Stumpf) ~8 min
      3. Group discussion ~45 min
        1. Should the scope only utilize existing technology?
        2. Do we want project-specific preliminary costs or prorated estimates based on historical costs?
        3. Does this document need stakeholder engagement?
        4. This is for meeting the 2050 iCAP goal.
        5. Should this document include net-zero space aspects or should it utilize an anticipated growth percentage?
        6. How does deferred maintenance interact with this plan?
        7. What scenarios would we like to see? For example, what if every new building on campus had to be net-zero energy?
    4. Overview of vision for iCAP Teams this academic year (Meredith Moore) ~5 min
      1. Enhanced interaction about the iCAP
      2. Standard recommendations from topical teams – encourage small-scale recommendations that will get to more campus units/groups
      3. Active participation at Campus Sustainability Celebration – afternoon of 10/20/21
      4. Increase connections with other groups – Student Affairs, SSLC, etc.
    Attached Files: 
  12. Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs - Submitted

    The Energy iCAP Team made the following recommendation on 6/8/21. The Energy006 Integrate iCAP Goals into Research/Learning Labs recommendation is attached along with a report prepared by Energy student, Brinn McDowell, and the data used in her report. 

    We recommend forming a committee to oversee integration of iCAP objectives into research/learning labs and to actively engage researchers to adopt sustainable lab policies. The committee should consist of a diverse range of stakeholders associated with sustainability and/or research on campus, such as F&S, iSEE, DRS, OVCR, OSHA, and Energy/Engagement iCAP Sustainability Working Team representatives. Outcomes from the committee should include, but is not limited to, a toolkit for sustainable and safe lab policies, training modules for those policies, a green purchasing guide, and inventory of equipment/spaces. The training modules should be part of onboarding and a required component of the lab safety training modules.

  13. Sustainability Council meeting 04-30-2019