As My Green Lab Executive Director Allison Paradise explained in a recent interview:
“There have been huge changes in life science lab operations and procurement since 2013, when My Green Lab was founded. When we first started the organization there were maybe 15 or 20 green labs programs across the country, and most of these were staffed with part-time staff or student interns. Now we’re seeing over 60 or 70 programs across the country with dedicated staff to run those programs. ENERGY STAR® didn’t exist for lab equipment in 2013. Now, thanks to the work of the Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories—which My Green Lab co-founded—we have ENERGY STAR® for all types of lab refrigeration, including ultra low-temperature freezers.”
But Energy Star is a blunt tool for comparing appliances; My Green Lab wanted to create a more nuanced label, to give labs a precise and accurate sense of the true environmental costs and benefits associated with their equipment.
Designing the ACT Label for Easy Interpretation and Maximum Impact
With a decade of experience working in research labs, Allison Paradise had a good sense of the many facets of sustainability that come into play in the lab. More importantly, as she’s continued to work with research labs to support their individual sustainability programs, she’s developed an acute sensitivity to the many pressures on research labs.
“We needed to make this easy, so researchers and administrators could really gauge the costs and benefits that come with their choices. We wanted to design something that anyone—even a non-scientist—could understand. Something intuitive enough so that anyone who looked at it, even if they weren’t familiar with all the technical minutia, could figure it out and make an informed decision.”
“We chose our pilot partners strategically,” Allison Paradise noted. Specifically, My Green Lab needed an autoclave supplier intimately familiar with both efficient autoclave design and the diverse challenges—in terms of cycles and facilities—that research-grade autoclaves must meet.
”We were intentional in choosing Priorclave as our autoclave manufacturing partner for the pilot. Barbra [Wells, Priorclave North America CEO] had great insight and feedback about the label design and implementation.”
Autoclave Suppliers Supporting Life Science Innovation
Paradise concluded, “The ACT label is something whose time has come; it’s time for the life sciences industry to step up and be on par with other major industries—like the building industry and the cleaning products industry—in terms of transparency and a drive toward sustainability. In this regard the life sciences have really lagged behind—but not anymore. Just a few years ago, no one in life sciences even thought of sustainability. Today, it’s a core value. It’s really exciting to think where the life sciences industry could be in ten years if we continue in this direction.”