As part of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories’ (I2SL’s) new Lab Sustainability Awards program, a variety of programs and initiatives were recognized for improving or enhancing sustainable lab operations, reuse/recycling, and working with suppliers to reduce waste.
2022 Lab Sustainability Award Winners
I2SL recognized two universities as the inaugural Lab Sustainability Award winners for their programs and initiatives.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) piloted its Green Labs Program in 2016 and has grown to over 150 active labs as of May 2022—accounting for over 800 researchers at the university! As part of the program, members created and implemented a recycling initiative for pipette tip boxes and other hard-to-recycle lab items. The Lab Recycling Program has successfully diverted over 75,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Lab undertook a fume hood hibernation program that saved a significant amount of energy, and it serves as a model for other labs on campus. Ultimately, the program resulted in the hibernation of 58 fume hoods for a total of 135 hours each week—saving MIT an estimated $21,000 annually!
2022 Programs and Initiatives Honorable Mentions
I2SL also recognized three programs with honorable mentions for the following initiatives:
- Honorable Mention for Innovation and Inspiration: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)—BIDMC partnered with local food delivery services to reuse ice packs received in lab packages. BIDMC has been able to donate over 3,000 pounds of ice packs through the program!
- Honorable Mention for Leadership in Energy and Emissions Reduction: The University of Chicago implemented preventative maintenance and commissioning projects across 10 laboratory buildings on its campus, which is projected to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent.
- Honorable Mention Award for Communications and Education of Green Labs Strategies: The Green Labs Initiative and Outreach at National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health implemented an innovative communications and outreach initiative to promote sustainability, including a green labs video, reaching over 66,000 viewers.
The winners were recognized on October 18 at the 2022 I2SL Annual Conference in Pittsburgh along with the winners in the Sustainable Laboratory Award for Buildings or Projects and Phil Wirdzek Leadership Award categories. You can find the full list of winners for the Sustainable Laboratories Award Program and view a photo gallery from the awards luncheon on I2SL’s website.
Is your lab or program doing something special? Consider applying for an award this spring or join the Laboratory Waste Landfill Diversion Working Group, which meets monthly to discuss ideas and innovations.