Earth Day + seed funding = greener MIT labs

April 26, 2016

Earth Day and seeds are a natural match. So MIT?s Environment, Health and Safety Office (EHS) awarded $5000 in seed money on April 22 as part of its Green Lab contest. This funding will be used to help labs conserve resources, including energy, water, hazardous materials, and waste.

Four MIT labs won $1000 seed money prizes:

  • the Imperiali Lab in Biology
  • the Langer Lab at the Koch Institute
  • the Summons Lab in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS)
  • the Wang Lab in Mechanical Engineering

The final $1000 prize was split between two Chemical Engineering labs: Brushett and Prather.

All twelve labs that entered the contest are eligible to win two grand prizes in November:

  • $5000 for most resources saved
  • $5000 for most innovative solutions

The main goal of the contest is to build a green labs program at the Institute. Participating labs will be certified through an intensive assessment tool from My Green Lab and provide advice on how to customize it for MIT use.

Going for the green

As part of the contest, the labs were asked to submit ideas on how they would make their lab a greener place to conduct research or teach. They filled out My Green Lab?s assessment tool and will do so again in the fall. This tool will be used to finalize lab ratings in the next phase of the contest.

Meanwhile, EHS will actively engage with the labs, sending them energy and waste audits by the end of May and visiting them to share insights. Monthly seminars offered by EHS will focus on topics ranging from plug load and energy management to green chemistry to recycling.

Working with MIT Facilities, EHS also plans to introduce different types of recycling bins in labs, along with better signage.


The Green Lab Contest is sponsored by EHS, with support from Campus Construction, the Office of Sustainability, Recycling, the Department of Chemical Engineering, the Koch Institute, and MIT.nano.

For more information about the contest or greening labs at MIT, visit, which includes links to a range of resources. You can also contact Pam Greenley or Niamh Kelly in EHS.