As my initiative is still in its early stages, I thought I would write about my advice for anyone interested in starting a program at another University this week. First, you are going to need a group of people with different perspectives during your planning stages. As a first year grad student, I do not know every aspect of experimental laboratories, and the advice coming from older grad students, lab managers, Environmental Health and Safety officers, and PIs has been extremely helpful.
There is a ton of information already out there about Green Lab programs so there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Everyone involved in Green Lab programs has a common goal and, in my experience, has been happy to share information and documents.
Third, working with scientists and working with administrators have their own challenges. Scientists want to make sure their research will not be affected and the administrative side of things takes a little longer to get things done than you might expect. It is important to assure researchers that this will not harm their progress while being patient when working with various departments.
Lastly, framing your goals and plans differently can help gain the support of many groups of people. As grant funding is down, many programs and labs are attempting to cut costs. Many of the Green Lab practices save a lot of money by decreasing chemical and equipment purchases and utilities bills. Additionally, many Universities have pledged to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which can be more easily completed by reducing laboratory energy usage as lab spaces use a disproportionate amount of energy to maintain, compared to other academic building spaces.