Sustainable Lab Recognition Program at the University of Michigan: A Pragmatic Approach to Empower the Lab Users

Sudhakar Reddy, University of Michigan

In 2011 The University of Michigan (U-M) spearheaded a unique program called the Sustainable Lab Recognition Program to inculcate sustainability into teaching and research laboratories across the campus. After completing five years of this program, we have been successful in engaging nearly 165 labs. The State of Michigan adopted this program conceptually and introduced it to other higher education institutions and organizations through a series of workshops. Participating labs embrace best lab practices in order to practice or implement green chemistry, energy and utilities conservation, recycling and behavioral changes in their operations. Several thousand faculty, staff and students are now engaged in this program contributing positively to the environment through sustainability. Furthermore, the frequency of spills and accidents in the participating labs has been significantly reduced, thereby increasing health and safety of lab users. While there are many measurable benefits from this program, we also encountered some barriers and challenges. This presentation will take a closer look at the metrics captured and discuss both the accomplishments and challenges of the program. A few additional institutional sustainability initiatives will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives

  • Labs consume 6 to 10 more energy than a classroom or office space. Learn on how we make a difference in conserving energy in our labs
  • Lab generate lots of solid and hazardous waste. Acquire knowledge on how we can reuse and recycle most of the materials encountered in our labs
  • Learn on how behavioral change improves lab user performance
  • Substituting hazardous materials with safer products is a challenge. Apply some of the known examples in your labs.


Dr. Sudhakar Reddy has many years of experience in sustainability. He has developed many green methods in analytical chemistry to measure target chemicals. Based on a green method developed by Dr. Reddy's group, Dionex has re-designed their Accelerated Solvent Extractor to measure PCBs in air. . He received several awards to recognize his contributions towards sustainability. Dr. Reddy has published 30 papers and delivered invited talks on Lab Safety and Sustainability.


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