What's New

Annual Conference

COVID-19 Information and Education

  • What lessons have we learned from restarting labs at universities and private labs since the COVID-19 pandemic started? Learn from a panel of lab owners who kicked off the I2SL Virtual Annual Conference October 6, 2020, with a plenary panel on Labs and COVID-19. Anyone can access the panel recording, just set up a free Teachable account from I2SLís conference recordings page and see all the other sessions you can access from the conference!
  • For the past several months, labs across the country have been closed due to COVID. As labs begin to consider reopening and retooling, I2SL hosted its second free town hall, COVID-19 Challenges and Successes for Designing and Operating Safe and Sustainable Labs, on July 8. A panel of lab experts from academia, pharma, and biotech addressed the top questions facing lab owners, operators, engineers, and designers, including social distancing in labs, lab design requirements, and air quality and sustainability. View the recording today!
  • If you missed the first town hall, Returning to the Operational Lab Environment During COVID-19, you can view the webinar recording.
  • The Facility Guidelines Institute recently released Guidance for Designing Health and Residential Care Facilities that Respond and Adapt to Emergency Conditions to provide design and operational guidance so facilities can be better prepared for future emergencies, like another pandemic or impacts from climate change. You can read the full guide here.
  • In remote locations, access to proper testing facilities can be limited, and mobile laboratories for these situations have been featured in past I2SL conferences. In China, mobile analytical labs are now being used to reach citizens in remote locations with rapid testing for COVID-19. Watch a video from Dynaflow.
  • To help laboratory owners and operators reopen and return to lab operations, the American Industrial Hygiene Association released a new guidance document. The guide contains actionable steps on how to safely reopen labs, including measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Access the full document here.
  • ASHRAE recently released a new guidance document that addresses the COVID-19 mitigation strategies specific to laboratory enviroments, especially regarding changes to air flow, laboratory HVAC and exhaust systems, and maintenance that can help prevent the spread of the virus. Read the full document here.
  • Read more about the HVAC issues associated with labs and COVID-19.
  • Check out this webinar recording on HVAC considerations and other concerns for campus physical plants.
  • If you are interested in learning more about the integration of green chemistry and safety in laboratories, read this new manuscript written by several I2SL members.
  • As the new school year approaches, ASHRAE has released a guide for institutions on retrofitting and planning for improvement of indoor air quality, as well as to slow the transmission of viruses via HVAC systems in buildings including labs.
  • The United Kingdomís National Health Service (NHS) has released several tips to help lab users stay sustainable while maintaining good health practices. You can also read the NHSís COVID-19 Waste Management Standard Operating Procedure to learn how UK healthcare and testing facilities are handling waste management during the pandemic.
  • Are you thinking about including COVID testing in your reopening plans? An article from the Boston Globe details how many pharmaceutical companies in Massachusetts have implemented testing as employees are allowed back into labs. Check out how lab owners and operators are adapting to new working standards.
  • With building closures due to stay-at-home orders, water in building plumbing can become stagnant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidance to help facilities restore water quality and ensure safe drinking water for occupants.
  • If you are looking for more resources about how to maintain labs and businesses during the pademic, CBRE has COVID-19 resources section. There are articles and podcasts that delve into how the virus is affecting the way we work, live, and invest.
  • How have strategies from the 9/11 biodefense response prepared the United States for pandemics like COVID-19? Healthcare Facilities Today examines this question and discusses improvements that would help handle this and future pandemics. For more information about testing and re-opening in healthcare facilities, read this briefing from the Massachusetts High Technology Council.
  • When buildings such as laboratories sit idle, it could have a variety of safety and sustainability effects such as water contamination, according to this article. You can also read about how climate-informed HVAC increases in relative humidity may help fight pandemic viruses in this article from Smith Group.
  • Businesses and hospitals are facing major transitions as they adapt to the challenges caused by coronavirus. To help with the adjustments, Grumman/Butkus Associates has shared engineering tips and strategies for employees at both healthcare and non-healthcare facilities. Grumman/Butkus also alerted I2SL that the ASHRAE/ASHE Technical Committee for Healthcare has updated guidance regarding Covid-19; view it here.
  • Sustainable labs are already making a difference in the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus. Scientists at Colorado State Universityís Research Innovation Center are hoping to become among the first to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Read more about the lab's work to protect our health and safety.


  • Congratulations to the 2021 International Freezer Challenge organizational and individual laboratory winners! This year, over 220 labs participated in the Challenge and helped save a combined 4.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. Winners will be recognized at the 2021 I2SL Annual Conference on September 27.
  • Check out this piece on the International Freezer Challenge and 2021's winners in Nature magazine!
  • Congratulations to the 2019 Go Beyond Award winners! See also the Sustainable Purchasing Award winners.

I2SL Chapters

  • The National Capital Chapter held an event at sponsor Affiliated Engineers in Rockville, Maryland, to discuss an energy-saving hot/cold water tank project at the National Institutes of Health.
  • The Emerald City Chapter in Seattle held a successful educational event on how to drive sustainability into the core of higher education, and I2SL Executive Director Phil Wirdzek addressed the audience (below).

I2SL Emerald City Chapter Event Photo

Working Groups

  • The Lab Waste Landfill Diversion Working Group worked with Michaela Barnett, a fellow from the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium, to develop a bulletin regarding use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in laboratories. This impact statement provides an overview of the environmental issues associated with EPS, challenges associated with its disposal, and in-depth, concrete strategies for laboratories to reduce their use of this material and develop more sustainable strategies for its disposal.
  • I2SL has created a new working group in partnership with MilliporeSigma to better understand how the community gauges the potential of green chemistry to influence decisions in the lab. The working group offered a free webinar on April 21, 2021, during which panelists discussed the growth in green chemistry and the potential value of the DOZN Quantitative Green Chemistry Evaluator. If you missed the live panel, you can download the recording here. The working group is also looking for input from the sustainable lab community and you can share your ideas and feedback by taking a brief survey. To learn more, check out the Green Chemistry Working Group page.
  • I2SL is working with Eversource to establish a national Electric Utility Support to Labs Working Group to help develop energy-efficient solutions and ensure real-time utility management strategies within lab management and users. For more information or to get involved, contact Steven Miller.
  • Ventilation effectiveness—combined with energy efficiency—can make laboratories both safe and sustainable. I2SL has started a new working group, chaired by Kishor Kahn of AnSight LLC, to raise awareness about ventilation effectiveness for laboratories (VEL) among architects, engineers, facility managers, owners, and others who are involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of laboratories.
  • Calling all lab operations personnel, A&E design pros, and product representatives. The Sustainable Laboratory User Manual Working Group held its first meeting in early June to introduce the executive committee and begin planning for the upcoming months.
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  • I2SL added a module to the Laboratory Benchmarking Tool (LBT)—Operational Practices—which goes beyond energy benchmarking to allow users to compare policies and practices with their peers. Check out the new module and add your own data to keep the tool growing in its reach and impact. Watch this video for more information on the LBT!
  • Learn about the Bringing Efficiency to Research (BETR) Grants program, which is an ongoing focus of the I2SL University Alliance Group (UAG).
  • The Continuous Improvement Working Group is developing tools and a process for continuous improvement in laboratory facilities.


  • While most laboratory sustainability efforts have focused on reducing environmental research, to fully achieve more sustainable labs, we need to consider also consider people and communities impacted by the science industry. I2SL Georgia Chapter Co-Vice President Star Scott and Christina Greever from I2SL partner My Green Lab explore how equity can increase sustainability in the latest issue of Lab Manager Magazine. You can read the full article here.
  • I2SL President and Executive Director Phil Wirdzek shared I2SL's mission and latest activities with Association of Physical Plant Administrators's (APPA) Facilities Manager Magazine. Check out the article to learn more about all the great educational resources and working groups I2SL supports. APPA also recently released its 2021 Thought Leaders Series, focused on connections, space, and place.
  • To help labs better prepare for future uncertainties, like pandemics or impacts from climate change, I2SL has created the new Laboratory Resilience Best Practices Guide. The guide explores the concepts underlying resilience and explains how labs can apply those concepts practically. I2SL has also revised several existing technical bulletins and best practices guides which are now available in the E-Library and Best Practices resource page.
  • For guidance on lowering your laboratory's environmental impact, check out the free recording of How to Green Your Lab, hosted by Nature. During the webcast, three speakers share their experiences with reducing waste and emissions from the lab.
  • If you are trying to implement quality sustainability projects on your university campus, watch this webinar recording. The speakers focused on how facilities, operations, students, faculty, and staff can work together on sustainable projects on the campus and in their community.
  • Interested in sustainable procurement? Check out this webinar hosted by the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council to learn more about guidance for purchasers, including how to integrate sustainable procurement into contracts for refrigerant-containing equipment.
  • Want to participate in more events related to the sustainable lab community? Check out the Industry Events page to learn about notable events happening this year.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator program has created the new Smart Labs Toolkit. The free toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to help organizations achieve more sustainable, efficient, and safe laboratories. Resources are available through the Toolkit to help lab owners and users plan, assess, optimize, and manage a Smart Lab. Watch a short video about Smart Labs to learn more.
  • In their latest blog post, Labconscious interviewed I2SL member and Utility Working Group chair, Steve Miller. Read the interview and learn how to empower scientists to move toward sustainability in their labs.
  • In partnership with the Better Buildings Smart Lab Accelerator, I2SL is offering a webinar series to encourage people to continue improving safety and efficiency in laboratories. View the webinar recording for the final webinar in the series and learn from Jim Coogan about building automation system best practices.
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  • As a result of this global pandemic, we may see a shift in how designers and engineers create research spaces. B+H Advance Strategy shared an article with I2SL about how to design the next generation of high-tech, cutting-edge laboratories. Read more in Team Science: Designing for Research in the Information Age.
  • Operations and maintenance (O&M) training courses are available now at a discount to I2SL Members.
  • I2SL members from organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University are helping to make the places that save lives save resources too! Check out this article from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
  • Check out this article from fivethirtyeight.com, featuring I2SL members, about the dilemmas faced by today's scientists and lab specialists when trying to help the planet while using resources in the process.
  • According to the latest addition to our E-Library, laboratory design has been shifting towards sustainability and spatial flexibility. Read the full article to find out more!
  • Harvard University got several of its laboratories to go green by giving green. Read the case study about how financial incentives helped reduce lab energy intensity.
  • Core facilities are the latest trend in consolidating campus research facilities and equipment to save resources and maximize researchers' abilities. Read more about how they work at Northwestern University or watch a video about core facilities.
  • The University of Virginia recently completed a Pilot Lab Program to study the true potential of holistic Green Labs programming that addresses both building and user aspects of research efficiency.

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