Penn Launches Green Labs Program

December 20, 2012

The movement toward sustainability on campus reaches beyond the students, faculty and staff who spend most of their time in classrooms and offices. The numerous labs on campus provide a prime opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and help us reach the goals set forth in Penn’s Climate Action Plan.  The Green Campus Partnership has created a Guide to provide overall guidelines for lab “greening” — from small undergraduate teaching labs to large medical research facilities. The Green Labs program has identified five areas — Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Waste Reduction, Purchasing, and Green Office — where practices and procedures in laboratory settings can affect our impact on the environment. Creators of the Green Labs @ Penn Guide consider this a first edition document that will continue to evolve through collaboration with representatives from the various schools and centers.

The Green Labs @ Penn Guide begins with general guidelines and suggestions for getting started, and provides a summary checklist that includes all actions listed in the Guide, to help lab users choose the appropriate actions for their lab. “With the great variety of labs we have on campus, we realize that some will be able to complete more actions than others,” explains Sarah Fisher, Penn Environmental Sustainability Associate. “You should aim to complete the actions that are possible for your lab based on the resources available and the manner in which your lab operates.”

Labs that commit to actions on the checklist will receive a Commitment Sticker meant to be prominently displayed in the lab. “We think this level of visibility can improve peer influence for behavior change, encouraging your neighbor labs to participate as well,” adds Fisher. She notes this program does not offer a “certification,” but rather gives lab teams recognition for doing their work in a manner that supports the overall goals of the University.

Download the Green Labs @ Penn Guide on the Green Labs website page. Contact sustainability@upenn.eduusing the subject line ‘Green Labs’ with questions, suggestions, or if you need help getting started.


The Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center is Penn’s first LEED Platinum building.

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