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Projects Updates for Green Labs Committee

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  1. 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.

  2. 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:


  3. 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)
  4. 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.

  5. 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: 
  6. 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: 
  7. 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.