In late 2019, a group of 10 individuals from a variety of organizations and companies in the St. Louis region came together to form the board of the new St. Louis Chapter of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL). St. Louis is a hub for scientific research and has some of the world’s best institutions leading the way: Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, BioSTL, Bayer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Danforth Plant Science Center, Washington University, Cortex Innovation Community, University of Missouri St. Louis, Saint Louis University, and many more. Establishing an I2SL chapter in St. Louis ensures that this incredibly important work is highlighted and shared with regional partners and beyond.
I2SL’s mission is “to engage all stakeholders in advancing the safety and sustainability of laboratories and other high-tech facilities globally.” The annual conference and technology fair brings together people from across the globe to advance sustainability in labs from a wide variety of aspects. In October 2020, Washington University and School of Medicine employees registered in a way that also granted free access to any other WashU student or staff member that wanted it. This special registration opportunity was possible because the conference was completely virtual, but keep an eye out for future annual conferences which take place in October each year.
WashU launched the Green Labs Program in early 2020 to support researchers in reducing their environmental footprints. Labs account for 1.6 million square feet of campus space and use between 2.5 and 5 times the amount of energy as office spaces, making labs a primary focus for sustainability efforts university-wide. In its first months, the Green Labs Program onboarded over 40 labs across the School of Medicine and Danforth Campuses.
The Green Labs Program Lead, Alicia Hubert, is the Sustainability Coordinator for the WashU School of Medicine and she also serves on the board for the I2SL Chapter. The board members includes representatives from UMSL, MilliporeSigma, Cannon Design, Mack McClain, Ross & Baruzzini, BR+A Consulting Engineers, DAI Scientific Equipment, HERA Laboratory Planners, and Friemellove. President of the St. Louis I2SL Chapter, Punit Jain is a Senior Vice President at Cannon Design and he serves on the National Board of Directors for I2SL.
I have been involved with the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) since its inception in 2004 and am delighted that the St. Louis community has embraced the organization locally with the establishment of the I2SL St. Louis Chapter. The chapter will provide a much needed avenue for our regional science, research, and technology stakeholders to advance their aspirations and goals for sustainable laboratories through scholarship, learning, and sharing of ideas.
The St. Louis I2SL Chapter is now accepting members. Benefits of membership include first access to limited attendance events (currently virtual), monthly newsletter promoting lab sustainability in the St. Louis region, networking opportunities with regional and national experts, and more. If you’re part of the Green Labs Program, joining the local I2SL Chapter is a perfect fit.