Honors College Thesis


Developing a Green Lab Certification for a Research-Intensive University Public Deposited

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  • Oregon State laboratories are responsible for a significant portion of the university’s overall resource and energy consumption, and therefore minimizing waste in a sustainable way should be a top priority for the university while aiming for carbon neutrality by 2025. This study addresses major factors that should be considered when implementing an effective Green Lab Certification program for a research-intensive university, specifically Oregon State University. Encouraging and normalizing pro-environmental behavior in labs is crucial to maintaining waste minimizing techniques in these workspaces. Accomplishing this in the form of a certification program maintains accountability, establishes a definition and standard of sustainability in the context of labs, and facilitates a network of support that ensures stability of the program over time. The OSU Green Lab Certification program centers around a comprehensive survey that assesses sustainable practices in six (6) categories – energy conservation, water conservation, waste management, lab purchasing, transportation, and education & engagement. Four (4) labs from the representative College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences participated in the development and testing of the OSU Green Lab Certification survey prior to university-wide implementation. Upon completion of the survey, each lab earned a score that correlated to a certification level – no certification (0-49%), Copper (50-59%), Silver (60-69%), Gold (70-79%), or Platinum (80-100%). Each lab also received specific feedback regarding improvements that could be made in order to proceed to a higher certification level in the future. Involving OSU labs in the development, amendment, and testing of the Green Lab Certification survey ensured that this program was clear, concise, applicable, and effective. The OSU Sustainability Office plans to implement this Green Lab Certification program university-wide in Winter of 2020 via Qualtrics, a program regularly used by the university for official surveys.
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