How to become a certified Green Lab at ASU
As Arizona State University steers toward a more sustainable future, its commitment to energy efficiency and waste reduction reaches all sectors of the campus.
Seeing that laboratories have higher consumptive energy rates – nearly three to four times the consumption of traditional classrooms – the university has recognized that this is one of the biggest opportunities for mitigation. With more than 1,400 laboratories at ASU, the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) has facilitated the Green Labs Program (GLP), which empowers individual labs to attain a Green Lab Certification by allowing flexibility.
Just this year, the Green Labs Program received one of ASU’s highest honors, the President’s Award, for their initiative toward sustainability. Being a certified Green Lab is now a prestigious qualification that all labs should achieve.
During this year, the program has set out to achieve a 30-percent increase in certified green labs. With 12 easily attainable goals that tackle big issues from energy and water conservation to waste reduction, labs will be able to choose which sustainable practices are applicable to their needs. Labs will only need to choose a minimum of three goals to begin the application process.
Following through with only three goals will ensure a lab certification as a Certified Green Lab. Attaining at least five goals will certify a lab as a Leading Green Lab.
The simple self-application process ensures a quick and easy certification. Many of the labs may only be a goal away from achieving a Green Lab Certification. For example, potentially shifting a behavior, such as turning lights off when not in use or utilizing recycle bins, could be that last goal needed for certification.
Through studies, EH&S has noticed that laboratory fume hood sashes are a big mitigation opportunity to drastically alter energy consumption. When consistently left open, fume hoods can use as much energy as three homes annually. If left closed when not in use, labs can potentially save up to $1,000 a year, and could prevent the equivalent of three cars-worth of carbon emissions annually. Noted within Goal 5, closing fume hood sashes is a simple goal for laboratories to attain. As this is only one example of the various goals, laboratories will easily accomplish many more.
The initial step toward certification is to gain agreement among laboratory members in the pursuit of becoming a Green Lab. Next, through the application and self-assessment on ASU’s EH&S website, laboratories determine which goals are relevant to them. If assistance is required during the assessment process, then a representative from Green Labs can help identify their individual opportunities. After submitting the application and assessment, the lab must notify GLP when the goals have been accomplished to achieve certification. Simple and effective, these certifications are a rewarding achievement for the university’s labs.