Friday, May 17, 2013

New! Green Labs Program

Beginning in early Fall 2012, a small group of students and staff gathered in the College 8 Cafe to discuss the idea of creating a program to make UCSC labs more sustainable. Who knew that in the next months to come - a team of 7 members could initiate and design a Green Labs Pilot Program and accomplish their goals!

The group comprised of three students from the Sustainability Office: Rielle Indya Green from the Climate
Action Team, Elizabeth Lin from the  Zero Waste Team, and Casey Wing from the Green Office Certification Team; two students from PowerSave Green Campus: Delia Bense-Kang and Nick Nigro; and two members of Environmental Health and Safety: Justin Delemus and April Anstey.

Program Creation:

Vision: The Green Labs Program seeks to improve energy efficiency and increase green purchasing and waste reduction through behavior change, physical improvements, and education.

Goals: To create a program that comprises of different determinants of sustainability and to pilot the program in 2 labs. The Green Labs Team completed the pilots of 2 labs Spring 2013.  Partch and Saltikov labs were the first to undergo the Green Labs Certification element.  This process included a comprehensive assessment and the labs were scored based on the result.  The Green Labs Team graded the labs on how well they tested in each of the 3 program goals (energy efficiency, waste reduction, and green purchasing).  

So what were the results? This year the Green Labs Team established a framework to evaluate and improve UCSC labs. Part of the program involved the certification of 2 pilot labs - this goal was completed with great enthusiasm and results! The Green labs team followed up with labs on recommendations that lead to positive behavior change.

More than that, through the other aspects of the program - Green Labs Team implemented reminders and found ways to save energy on campus! UCSC lab buildings use 46.7% of campus energy - so places where we could reduce this were essential! Lab equipment is high in energy usage - but there are so many areas where simple behavior modifications can save energy (thus campus $$ and GHGs).  One of these areas are fume hoods, these are ventilation devices that are used to limit the amount of toxins and chemicals people are exposed to.  Unfortunately these devices keep a constant flow of air and use the amount of energy per year equal to 3 to 5 houses.  One way the Green Labs Team helped to reduce this energy consumption was to place stickers on all fume hoods on campus to remind the labs to keep them shut when not in use.  This way the airflow is greatly reduced.

UCSC Green Labs is a successful and growing program that will continue into future years!

No comments: