One of the graduate students in the Department of Human Genetics founded a sustainability initiative that aims to guide labs across the Biological Sciences Division towards reducing their environmental impact. UChicago GreenLabs has grown into a group of over thirty scientists and twelve laboratories that work to decrease energy use, waste creation, and water waste.
UChicago GreenLabs is currently encouraging labs to sign up for the 2017 North American Freezer Challenge, put on by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab, to decrease the carbon footprint of UChicago labs.
Laboratories use a variety of cold storage facilities, including ultra-ultra low temperature freezers (-150C), ultra-low temperature freezers (-80C), lab freezers (-70C to -20C), refrigerators, and cold rooms.
The Freezer Challenge is formatted to encourage labs to modify their cold storage habits to earn points, which accumulate across the University. It will take place between January and May 2017.
The deadline (January 31st) is quickly approaching, so if your lab has not yet done so, you can sign up at https://www.freezerchallenge.org/
If you would like to learn more about Sustainable Laboratory programs at UChicago, go to www.UChicagoGreenLabs.com.