Green your lab

Sustainable Laboratory Practices at Notre Dame


The greeNDiscovery program reduces Notre Dame’s carbon footprint by promoting energy efficiency in research laboratories. Benefits for participating labs include:
  • Analysis of energy-saving opportunities
  • Rebate offers for replacement of inefficient equipment
  • Over 100 research labs have participated in greeNDiscovery so far. As a result, tens of thousands of dollars worth of energy have been saved and hundreds of thousands of pounds of CO2 have been avoided. In addition, dozens of labs have received new, high-efficiency appliances free of charge. 

The greeNDiscovery assessment has 4 steps:

1. Informational meeting and walk-through
  • greeNDiscovery staff will ask lab representative basic information about lab operations, safety concerns, and ongoing experiments.
  • greeNDiscovery staff will collect information about the number and type of major appliances, computers, printers, and fume hoods.
  • Time commitment for lab representative: ~30 minutes
2. Approval of recommended metering and preventative maintenance
  • greeNDiscovery staff will present a list of appliances they would like to meter and preventative maintenance they would like to suggest.
  • Recommendations will also include preferred computer/printer settings and any equipment upgrades.
  • PI will sign off on approved recommendations; lab representative will arrange convenient times for them to be completed.
  • Time commitment for PI & lab representative: ~15 minutes
3. Metering and preventative maintenance
  • greeNDiscovery staff will meter approved appliances for 2-3 days 
  • Time commitment for lab representative: ~15 minutes
4. Summary and recommendations for the future
  • greeNDiscovery staff will present the results of their analysis and their recommendations for ongoing lab operations and maintenance.
  • greeNDiscovery completion posters will be sent to the lab and any recommendation(s) the lab wishes to pursue will be processed by our office.
  • Time commitment for lab PI & staff: ~15 minutes
Safety: Each greeNDiscovery assessment will be carried out by the Office of Sustainability professional staff and a student intern.  All greeNDiscovery staff members have been trained in lab safety by Risk Management & Safety and have experience working in research laboratories.  They will be dressed appropriately and have their own lab coats, safety glasses, and gloves.
How to participate: Each PI who wishes to participate will appoint a representative to be the primary point of contact with the greeNDiscovery team.  The representative can be a lab manager, graduate student, researcher, or post-doc.  To sign up or request more information, please contact our office at 631-2748. 
Resources: The greeNDiscovery program was developed in consultation with the sustainable laboratory programs at UC Santa Barbara and Harvard University's Green Labs program.
International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories
UC Santa Barbara LabRATS
Harvard Green Labs
MIT Green Chemicals Wizard
Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale