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Greening Federal Grants: Why there is a need to connect efficiency to federal funding for research at universities

May 3, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT


This presentation will include two parts:
PART 1: The Department of Energy (DOE) will provide an overview of the DOE Smart Labs Accelerator Program (https://betterbuildingsinitiative.energy.gov/accelerators/smart-labs) which was launched at the 2016 International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) conference. The accelerator is aimed at working with partners to reduce energy use in labs by at least 20% over 10 years. A typical laboratory is 3 to 4 times more energy intensive than an average commercial building and can account for up to 70% of a research campus’ energy footprint.
PART 2: The Bringing Efficiency to Research Grants (BETR Grants) effort, previously called Greening Federal Grants, is one effort connected with the DOE Smart Labs Accelerator. For several years, I2SL University Alliance Group, in collaboration with federal colleagues, has been raising awareness about the missed opportunities to increase effective use of federal research dollars and minimize the environmental footprint of research through greening of federal grants. These opportunities include establishing shared equipment assets, improving lab space utilization to match actual need, and implementing best practices that minimize energy use, water use, and generation of solid and hazardous waste. Inefficiencies not only mean less money for actual research, they also mean greater costs to universities and the federal government in support of research, and a larger environmental footprint than necessary.  With scientists facing increasingly difficult competition for federal funding, now is the time to address efficiency. This presentation will provide an overview and action that universities can take now to voluntarily incorporate measures for efficiency in grant proposals.

For members: Access webinar recording and presentation materials


Katherine Ramirez-Aguilar

Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, PhD, Green Labs Program Manager, University of Colorado Boulder

Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar manages the CU Green Labs Program at the University of Colorado-Boulder, a program she has been building and creating since 2009. She has a doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder and 15 years of laboratory research experience within the fields of biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry. Her lab experiences led her to recognize the need for green lab programs to engage scientists and create a multi-stakeholder, campus team approach to resource conservation in university labs. Through participation in the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), Green Labs Planning Group, and DOE Better Buildings Alliance, she regularly collaborates and shares ideas with colleagues across the nation at universities and federal agencies who care about efficiency and green lab efforts in research environments.  She leads the I2SL University Alliance Group which is presently focused on the topic of connecting efficiency with federal research funding.

Brenda Petrella

Brenda Petrella, Ph.D., Lab Safety and Sustainability Consultant

Brenda Petrella’s passion for lab sustainability was initially born from her experience as the principal investigator of a kidney cancer research laboratory at the Department of Veterans Affairs Research Service in Vermont. From her work as a molecular biologist, Brenda understands the challenges scientists face in the current difficult funding environment. Subsequent to her time in the lab, Brenda served as the Biosafety Officer for Dartmouth College for three years. During her time overseeing research safety and compliance, Brenda also served as the Lab Sustainability Manager and developed the first Green Labs Program at Dartmouth. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Vermont Communities and of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance, two non-profits focused on preserving our natural environment while supporting sustainable development. Brenda received her PhD in biochemistry from Dartmouth College in 1999. She is currently working as a lab safety and sustainability consultant.

 Otto Van Geet

Otto Van Geet, Principal Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Otto is a Principal Engineer at NREL with over 30 years of experience. Otto has been involved in the design, and operation of energy efficient research facilities such as labs and data centers, general use facilities, and low energy use campus and community design. Otto was one of the founding members of the Labs21 program and provides technical guidance for the program. Otto is a Registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Energy Manager, a LEED Accredited Professional, and a Project Management Professional. He and his family live in an off grid passive solar house with a 2 kW PV/hybrid power system and solar water heating that he designed and built 20 years ago.



May 3, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT
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