We know saving energy in labs saves on utility costs, but do your researchers know that when they go green, they may be able to get more green (aka grant funding)? According to a recent “labconscious” blog, funding organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have communicated a commitment to encouraging sustainability of grant recipients and lead by example with their own green initiatives.
Research sponsor dollars go further when equipment and lab spaces are shared, energy is saved, and researchers demonstrate good stewardship of resources. As a result, efficiency initiatives could distinguish applications and increase applicants’ competitiveness.
NIH also hosted its own green labs fair last year to raise awareness of sustainable products and equipment among researchers. For more information on how to start your own fair, check out this labconscious blog: “Green Lab Fairs Tie the Latest and Greatest Technology to Cost Savings for Research Labs.”
At Harvard University, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences conducted a one-year pilot project to determine if providing a financial incentive to different lab groups for saving energy would reduce their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. While the results were somewhat mixed (the chemistry labs saved energy, but the biology labs showed a slight net energy increase), the pilot program offers some insight into how to use financial incentives to promote sustainability within a research campus.
Need to learn how to make grant applications better reflect your labs’ environmental stewardship and energy efficiency? Join the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories’ (I2SL’s) University Alliance Group (UAG) and get involved in its Bringing Efficiency to Research (BETR) Grants effort. BETR Grants suggests incorporating language into grant proposals about equipment sharing, space utilization, and energy and water conservation to help labs gain a competitive edge when applying for funding.
You can learn more about BETR Grants and the UAG at the I2SL Annual Conference in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, October 20 through 24, 2019. Or learn about how partners in the U.S. Department of Energy Smart Labs Accelerator are doing at the Better Buildings Summit, July 10 and 11, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia.