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I2SL Working Groups

I2SL Members participate in working groups to tackle specific technical topics and common sustainability issues. Working groups meet monthly or as needed to address tasks and discuss progress. I2SL members interested in participating in a working group should contact the chairs listed for each group.

Team Meeting

I2SL University Alliance Group (UAG)

Group Purpose


To share green lab and lab sustainability initiatives and work together as a group on driving changes to systems that will improve the environmental sustainability of scientific research, particularly at academic research institutions. 

Million Advocates for Sustainable Science


Considering the outsized carbon footprint of laboratories, the urgency of mitigating climate change, and the hyper-competitive environment that researchers are facing for funding, systemic changes towards more efficient lab operations and practices would benefit both science and a reduced environmental footprint. Current research funding structures generally neglect to encourage or require research institutions to demonstrate environmental sustainability to receive funds. As a result, My Green Lab and I2SL created the Million Advocates for Sustainable Science letter signing campaign. This call to action challenges research funders to encourage sustainability in research and to urge scientists, research institutions, and stakeholders to improve and implement sustainability, resource efficiency, and resiliency within research laboratories.


Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder

We encourage sustainability advocates, scientists, lab workers, lab designers, engineers, and builders to sign the letter now to join hundreds and soon thousands around the world in the push to change in the way scientific research is conducted. There are two versions of the letter:

  • A general global letter

  • A global letter with United States-specific additions relevant to U.S. funding sources


After signing, feel free to share this letter and video on social media and send it to friends and colleagues to have an even larger impact. You can also visit the website to learn more about the impact your signature will have, lab sustainability, or for ways to make your lab more efficient.

Group Activities

Participants and Get Involved

The group meets monthly via zoom. The meetings currently alternate between two focuses: 

  1. Sharing of lab sustainability and green lab initiatives in place at research institutions, federal laboratories, and other non-profits. ​

  2. The Bringing Efficiency to Research (BETR) Grants initiative—which is focused on connecting efficiency and sustainability expectations and requirements to the funding of scientific research.

Participants in the group include professionals from academic research institutions and non-profits, as well as collaborators from federal agencies. If you are interested in participating in the UAG zoom meetings and being added to the group email list, please contact I2SL and/or Email messages are sent out prior to the meetings with zoom information and an agenda, as well updates and links to items of interest to the group.

Lab Waste Landfill Diversion Working Group

This working group is addressing barriers and sharing best practices related to laboratory waste diversion, with a focus on reducing waste and improving equity barriers by addressing supplier-side barriers and opportunities, and purchaser-side barriers and opportunities. 

Co-Chair: Kelly Weisinger, Environmental Defense Fund

Co-Chair: Ilyssa Gordon, Cleveland Clinic

Working Group Projects

CoP logo.png

The working group initiated and supports an online community where lab and campus sustainability professionals and their suppliers can collaborate with one another on ways to divert materials from landfills, address toxicity, and create less lab waste. Learn more about what members of the CEL Community of Practice and this working group have been doing to reduce waste and promote equity in purchasing from previous conference sessions, blogs, and videos.

In 2021, Michaela Barnett, a fellow from the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium, worked with the Lab Waste Landfill Diversion Working Group to develop an overview of the environmental impact EPS/its disposal, and strategies to reduce its use.

Animal bedding composting case study

The working group is compiling a case study to share information about the development and implementation of each several animal bedding compost programs at various universities.

Nitrile Glove Call to Action and Resource Guide

The working group is developing a call for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for nitrile glove manufacturers and distributors and determining the lifecycle of nitrile gloves from production to use to disposal. This document will educate glove users and purchasers on best practices for procuring, using, and managing waste for nitrile gloves. Please let us know if you are interested in joining this project!

I2SL Sustainability Laboratory Awards for Programs or Initiatives

The working group developed the criteria for programs and initiatives to win any award through I2SL’s annual recognition program and provides judges to evaluate applications.

Get Involved

The working group convenes monthly via conference call. View the running meeting minutes. If you would like to join the working group, contact I2SL at

Laboratory User Manual Working Group



The Laboratory User Manual is envisioned as:

  • A living document that describes a facility’s purpose, functions, infrastructure, operations, and intended uses

  • Containing guidance for owners and operators to enable them to intelligently use, maintain, and renovate the laboratory over time

  • Providing flexible systems to collect and store common design and construction documents without duplicating them, including the Owners Project Requirements (OPR), Basis of Design (BOD), construction drawings, specifications, construction submittals, Building Information Models (BIM), Operations Manuals (O&Ms), commissioning reports, Testing and Balancing (TAB) reports, and other documents

Co-Chair: Maria Montgomery, Perkins & Will

Co-Chair: Jacob Werner, Ellenzweig

Best Practices Guide


The Group is currently working on the Best Practices Guide: Laboratory User Manual. Phase One includes structured interviews with laboratory owners and operators. If you would like to provide feedback or assist with the effort, please email Maria Montgomery.


The working group gave a presentation at the 2021 I2SL Annual Conference. View the PowerPoint presentation from the session.

The working group convened via conference call on July 14, 2020. View the meeting minutes.

The working group convened via conference call on October 9, 2020 as part of the 2020 Virual I2SL Annual Conference. View the meeting presentation or watch the meeting recording.

The working group convened via conference call for its first meeting on June 2, 2020. View the meeting presentation and the meeting minutes.

Get Involved

This working group invites individuals and organizations committed to helping I2SL develop the Laboratory User Manual. Members are encouraged to contribute their expertise, energy, and ideas. The main group currently holds monthly conference calls; smaller subgroups are created for specific tasks and may hold more frequent calls or meetings as needed. To get involved, please email Maria Montgomery.

Ventilation Effectiveness for Laboratories (VEL) Working Group



Often high airflow rates or air change rates per hour (ACH) are specified to cover the risk of chemical exposure in laboratory spaces. Although high supply airflow rates can reduce the overall concentration of contaminants, they may not ensure acceptable concentration levels everywhere in the occupied zone. Locations of high concentration, especially those in the breathing zone of occupants, can pose potentially higher exposure risk. Ideally the clean supply air should sweep the contaminants away from the laboratory space without significant recirculation and stagnation, which can promote high concentration levels. At the same time, the clean air should not escape or short-circuit the space without collection and removal of contaminants. The design of HVAC systems and flow path of contaminants are among several important factors that can determine the effectiveness of laboratory ventilation systems. Ventilation effectiveness combined with energy efficiency can make the laboratories safe and sustainable.

Co-Chair: Kishor Khankari, AnSight LLC

Co-Chair: Tom Smite, 3Flow



The main goal of this group is to create an 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.



The I2SL VEL working group will address the following questions:

  • What is ventilation effectiveness for laboratories?

  • How does airflow distribution in laboratories affect the health and safety of occupants?

  • What are the hazards that can be controlled with ventilation?

  • How are ACH and VEL related? Why should we care about VEL in addition to ACH?

  • Is VEL the same for all types of laboratories? Does the definition of VEL change with the type of laboratory?

  • How are lab safety and VEL related?

  • How are energy efficiency and VEL related (efficiency versus effectiveness)?

  • Can high levels of VEL be implemented to make labs safe?

  • Could high levels of VEL be implemented to make labs more energy-efficient?

  • How to determine VEL (computational fluid dynamics [CFD] approach and field testing approach)?

  • What parameters affect VEL?

    • ACH

    • Lab layout (locations and number of supply, return, and fume hoods)

    • Diffuser types

    • Furniture layout and other obstructions to airflow

    • Sensible heat sources

    • HVAC design (chilled beams, overhead supply, and demand control ventilation, etc.)

  • How can VEL be specified as a design parameter? How can VEL be specified?

  • Can VEL be measured, and what tests are appropriate?

    • Airflow visualization

    • Velocity

    • Temperature distribution

    • Tracer gas migration (dilution and removal)

  • Can VEL be monitored?

  • Can VEL be used during commissioning?

  • What are the research and development needs related to VEL?



  • Define VEL

  • Develop guidelines for application of VEL

  • Demonstrate the use of CFD for predicting VEL

  • Develop guidelines for testing and validating VEL

  • Education

  • Seminars

  • Presentations

  • Conference participation

  • Specialized publications

  • Promote research and development

Committee Composition


Design engineers, facilities managers, owners, architects, EH&S professionals, industrial hygienists, commissioning agents, laboratory equipment manufacturers, field testing experts, CFD experts, and government agencies are encouraged to participate.

Get Involved

If you would like to join the working group, contact Kishor Khankari.

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