Safety & Sustainability Synergy: Discovering Allies and Needed Studies

Allen Doyle

Safety professionals sometimes look cautiously at sustainability champions as people who might compete or distract laboratory staff from their safety imperatives. Instead, safety and sustainability are complementary initiatives at many scales, from bench practices to HVAC comfort, safety and efficiency, from chemical use and procurement to waste disposal and building design. While safety staff are sometimes seen as “cops”, sustainability staff are seen as advocates and coaches, so co-messaging of safety and sustainability may help staff focus while feeling empowered at work. Additionally, sustainability planning requires systems approach, and this leads to durable solutions. Green Labs initiatives have been around in higher education and government laboratories for over ten years, and examples will be given for partnerships and case studies of success. Behavioral correlations are still anecdotes, and systematic studies will be recommended.


After 20 years of ocean and soil science, the urgency of environmental degradation compelled Allen Doyle to leave the bench and work on conservation in in the research setting itself. He brings an occupant focus, and he is co-founder of LabRATS, organizer of 200+ member national network, and recipient of the 2017 Going Beyond Award. He has engaged in HVAC optimization through set point relaxation, control banding and solvent reductions. He works to reduce plug load, co-founded Freezer Challenge, as well as procurement strategic sourcing and design advocacy. He collaborates with campuses across the country, federal agencies like U.S. Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private sector laboratories, and he serves on two steering committees in I2SL.


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