The Green Labs Program works with researchers, staff, faculty, and building managers to implement sustainable practices and technologies in lab buildings.

Because of the resource intensity of lab science and the unique conditions in each individual lab, sustainability is approached at the lab-specific level in addition to a building-wide perspective.

Take Action

Save energy

  • Shut fume hoods when not in use. Want more? Pledge to close your fume hoods by getting involved with the Shut the Sash competition. 
  • Turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • Label equipment with "turn me off" stickers.
  • Turn off small appliances when not in use.

Reduce waste

  • Clarify lab and office recycling procedures; label bins and hang signage
  • Participate in and donate to a lab freecycle or the Green Labs Reuse Room.
  • Recycle equipment that is broken or has reached the end of its usable life.

maintain equipment to maximize efficiency

  • Keep your freezers organized; by limiting door openings you will save energy and increase the life of your freezer.
  • Host an annual freezer cleanout to remove unnecessary samples.
  • Service your equipment on a routine basis to keep it running optimally and prevent breaks. 
  • Clear away any ice buildup on your -80 freezer with a soft cloth or rubber mallet which can be provided by the FAS and Longwood Green Labs Programs.
  • Keep your -20 freezers free of ice by defrosting at least once per year and by clearing ice from the gaskets periodically. 

Conserve resources

  • Share freezer space and equipment with neighbors instead of buying your own.
  • Learn how to operate the autoclave more efficiently.
  • Reduce autoclaving needs by introducing a two-streamed process where only required items are autoclaved and other items are run through the dishwasher.
  • Consider purchasing a solvent recycler for your lab space or sharing one among neighboring labs.

purchase sustainably

What's new? We're educating our lab community about the ACT Label, created to help labs make smart, informed decisions about product and equipment purchases. The ACT Label presents a simplie nutrition label approach to lab products, scoring them in multiple green categories. For each category, the lower number is a better score, meaning lower environmental impact. Products are scored by an independent third party. Less than 100 products have received the label to date, so we're also encouraging labs to ask vendors for more ACT Label products.

  • Get informed about third party verified, green lab products. View products that have received the ACT Label here.
  • Top 10 purchasing tips for a greener lab
  • Make energy efficient purchasing choices and purchase Energy Star certified equipment.
  • Think before you buy: Check out the Green Labs Reuse Room. 
  • Host an annual lab cleanout or spring cleaning.
  • Use healthier, green cleaning products.
  • Browse MIT's Green Chemical Alternatives Wizard


Lab Reuse

Shut the Sash Program

White Papers

Harvard BioLabs View Dynamic Glass Pilot

Harvard Fume Hood Strategy

Reducing laboratory energy use through data-driven behavior change campaigns