Green Labs Program

green labs logo

Research labs are an important aspect of UVA’s mission, but are energy, water, and material intensive. At UVA, labs account for over 30% of the University’s energy use despite accounting for only approximately 16% of the square footage. Because of the immense opportunity to reduce energy, water, and waste, the Green Labs Working Group and the Office for Sustainability have developed a Green Labs program to focus on three areas:

  • Programs and Resources: specialized lab recycling, freezer, fume hood, and other energy efficiency programs, events, and training
  • Outreach and Action: a Green Lab certification program and associated resources
  • Infrastructure: Sustainable lab standards, evaluation, and implementation for new construction, renovations, and existing buildings


"Shut the Sash" Fume Hood Competition

The Green Labs Program conducted UVA's first Shut the Sash competition in October 2017 for the following buildings: MR5, Pinn Hall, the Chemistry Building, and the Physical Life Sciences Building. This friendly competition promoted safe, smart, and sustainable practices when using a fume hood. Fume hood sash sensors in PLSB revealed a 32% improvement on average sash position after the start of the competition. The award-winning labs who championed this cause help to make their lab spaces safer and more sustainable.

In an effort to raise awareness about chemical fume hood safety and energy consumption, the Office for Sustainability has launched the Energy Impact Tracker in the Physical Life Sciences Building. This visual display informs researchers about the amount of emissions resulting from chemical fume hood sash positions.

Laboratory Freezer Challenge

Used for the preservation of sensitive samples and reagents, freezers are a common find in laboratories but are extremely energy-intensive. In the Spring of 2017, UVA participated in the International North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge and received an Honorable Mention Award for saving close to 40,000 kWh per year. Check out the Sustainability Blog to read more about our labs’ efforts to save energy, and register for the Spring 2018 Freezer Challenge.

Green Labs Certification Program

The Office for Sustainability encourages labs to participate in the pilot phase of the Green Labs certification program. Labs can become certified at one of four levels of certification, and can earn higher levels over time. To get involved, review the Green Labs checklist and email to schedule a lab visit.

Green Labs Working Group

The Green Labs Working Group (GLWG) is a collection of UVA researchers, students, staff, and faculty whose insight supports the progress of the Green Labs Program. It is one of twelve Sustainability Working Groups that constitute the Environmental Stewardship Subcommittee. If you’d like to attend meetings or receive GLWG updates, email


Our Lab Footprint

Below is a a set of graphs that show our lab energy usage at UVA. These numbers drive our program and steer our reduction strategies. Hover over a segment of the chart to see more details.

Site Energy Consumption by Building Category
Site Square Footage by Building Category