Two labs within Los Alamos National Laboratory have earned recognition for their sustainability-conscious culture: the Chain Lab in Genomics and Bioanalytics and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).
The labs participated in the "Green Lab" certification process available through My Green Lab, a nonprofit agency that promotes environmental conscientiousness within the scientific community. The worldwide program has been recognized by the United Nations' Race to Zero campaign as a key measure of progress toward a zero-carbon future and considered the gold standard for best practices in lab sustainability.
The Chain Lab, which operates out of the Health Research Laboratory, recently received the highest certification available, the green-level certification. The CINT Gateway facility, meanwhile, recently earned My Green Lab's platinum-level certification, the second-highest level.
Going for the Green
Julia Kelliher, a research technologist for the Chain Lab, said the lab has taken several steps to promote sustainability. That includes minimizing the use of single-use laboratory items, adding low-flow aerators to sinks and designating a team member as the "sustainability lead." The group also created a sustainability presentation on best practices for new team members.
"As environmental researchers, our group has always been very aware of how our lab practices can affect the world around us," said Kelliher. "We are continually looking for ways to implement sustainability best practices in our labs, and obtaining this certification has only furthered and cemented this commitment."
My Green Lab's assessment at CINT found that the laboratory stood out for its waste management practices, resource management -; like sharing equipment among colleagues rather than purchasing more -; and for training staff on sustainability efforts and practices.
"CINT is committed to sustainable science and supporting the Lab's sustainability goals," said Ricardo Martí-Arbona, who coordinated CINT's effort while serving as its deputy group leader. "I want to thank the residents of CINT. It is their dedication to making changes to reduce the environmental impact of their lab space that earned this recognition, making the CINT Gateway a role model to other laboratories."
In Good Company
The Chain Lab and CINT are two of just three laboratories on campus to achieve My Green Lab certification and the first to do so in over four years. The Los Alamos sustainability team is working on some programs to encourage more participation.
"As Los Alamos strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a net-zero level, we all need to think about how we operate. These new My Green Lab certifications demonstrate that is already happening," said Genna Waldvogel, who oversees the Lab's Sustainability program. "We encourage more participation in My Green Lab, whether it is at the individual lab level or, like CINT, a multipurpose facility with over 11,000 square feet of laboratory space and over 100 regular users."