Sustainability Scoop — March 2021

Collaboration Brings Labs Together in Cambridge

As more laboratories are beginning to plan for resiliency and incorporate sustainable and efficient practices into their operations, collaboration between organizations is key. While different institutions may be searching for or developing innovative technologies and practices, researchers and employees can benefit from information-sharing with other labs. To help facilitate communication between institutions in the Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts area, Steven Miller of Eversource and Jennifer Ballew founded the Cambridge Sustainable Labs (CSL) Group. The two shared their experiences and successes with CSL with attendees during the 2020 Virtual International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) Annual Conference.

The goal of the group is to bring together employees from research labs, high-tech companies, and higher education institutions to discuss topics related to sustainable labs and share ideas with one another. The group’s first meeting garnered around 25 people, but it quickly grew to about 80 members from 25 to 30 different member institutions.

The group determined several topics of interest, including user engagement, energy, recycling, and local regulations. Members initially shared their latest projects related to those topics by hosting the group at their facility and giving a presentation (prior to COVID-19). These presentations have allowed members to learn from their peers and take ideas back to their own companies or labs to improve sustainable practices. During the conference presentation, members of the group spoke about their positive experiences with CSL and said they appreciated the opportunity to network and benchmark with other local companies.

As Cambridge Sustainable Labs continues to grow, Steven and Jennifer shared some tips that have helped with the group’s success. Organization has been a crucial component in keeping the momentum going. They use Google Docs to keep track of member contact information and maintain a website to house past presentations and other resources. Networking has also been important for recruiting new members and institutions. When COVID-19 prevented the group from meeting in person, they switched to holding meetings virtually. Members’ commitment to the group’s goals has kept meeting attendance level even with the challenges presented by the pandemic.

To learn more about the Cambridge Sustainable Labs Group or get ideas on how to start your own group, visit the CSL website. If you missed this session on resiliency or any of the other 2020 Annual Conference presentations, you can purchase the courses on I2SL’s Teachable Site.

Share Your Best Practices or Technologies With I2SL

Do you have a sustainable labs success story you’d like to share? The Call for Papers for the 2021 I2SL Annual Conference is now accepting abstracts! Submit an abstract about your latest advancements or technologies by Friday, March 26, 2021, to speak in-person at the conference. You can find more information about speaker deadlines, conference topics of interest, speaker benefits and more on the I2SL website. If you have any questions about submitting your abstract, please email I2SL.