What Is Going On With Greening Federal Grants?

Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder

For several years, I2SL's University Alliance Group, in collaboration with federal colleagues, has been raising awareness about the missed opportunities to increase effective use of federal research dollars and minimize the environmental footprint of research through greening of federal grants. These opportunities include establishing shared equipment assets, improving lab space utilization and fume hood allocations to match actual need, and implementing best practices that minimize energy use, water use, and generation of solid and hazardous waste. Inefficiencies not only mean less money for actual research; they also mean greater costs to universities and the federal government in support of research, and a larger environmental footprint than necessary. With scientists facing increasingly difficult competition for federal funding as universities continue to expand in research space and doctorates employed, now is the opportune time to address efficiency. This presentation will provide an overview and update on where the greening federal grants effort stands.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the competition and challenges scientists are facing for federal funding
  • Learn where inefficiencies exist in the federal granting process and ideas to improve efficiency
  • Understand why greening grants would provide win-win benefits to scientists, universities, federal agencies, and the environment
  • Learn about federal and non-federal groups engaged in this topic and where it is expected that change will begin


Kathy manages the CU Green Labs Program at the Univ. of Colorado-Boulder. She has 15 years of lab research experience where she recognized the need for a program to engage scientists in conservation. Through participation in I2SL, Green Labs Planning Group, & the DOE Better Buildings Alliance, she regularly collaborates & shares ideas with colleagues at universities & federal agencies. She chairs the I2SL University Alliance Group presently focused on connecting sustainability to lab finances.


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