UCSC Green Labs

The Freezer Challenge has been extended through June.
Learn more about the Freezer Challenge today!

Welcome to Green Labs

Welcome to UCSC Green Labs! The program is run by the Green Labs Team and consists of a certification program and an education & outreach initiative that implements energy efficiency, waste reduction, and purchasing programs in campus labs. Read our 2019 Green Labs Action Plan!


The Green Labs program seeks to improve energy efficiency and increase green purchasing and waste reduction practices through behavior change, physical improvements, and education.

UCSC Green Labs program has 3 goals:

  1. ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Lab buildings make up 1/5th of our campus's square footage but consumes 1/3rd of our electricity.

  2. WASTE REDUCTION: Lab Operations produce 12% of landfill-bound waste from campus

  3. GREEN PROCUREMENT: Laboratories are the single largest purchaser from CruzBuy

Simple Certification

Phase 1: Complete an Online Self-Assessment - March 2: Green Labs assessment is currently down while we bring the assessment in-house and create a more seamless and user-friendly experience for participants. 

45 minutes to 1 hour

Phase 2: Walk-through Evaluation

               Quick walkthrough of lab (less than 30 minutes) by Green Labs team

Phase 3: Follow-Up 

Certification awarded along with Green Labs package 


  • Recognition as a model for cutting edge laboratory sustainability
  • Increased research efficiency
  • Certified labs qualify for retrofit and equipment upgrade programs*
  • Karma bonus points for environmental friendliness! 

* Equipment Upgrade Programs

In 2017-18, UCSC completed a freezer retrofit and incentive program. We had received funding from the Strategic Energy Program and the Carbon Fund. We replaced 30 freezers and fridges!

In 2019-20, the Green Labs Team is assessing UCSC's laboratory equipment inventory list to identify the next best ROI, GHG, and water efficiency project to undertake. Then they will contact labs with the equipment, confirm need for replacement, and submit another request of a Carbon Fund grant. 

If you are looking to purchase a freezer or a fridge, please look at our cold storage recommendations. Also, please familiarize yourself with the UC’s Sustainable Procurement Guidelines regarding Energy Star and WaterSense certified products.

If you have a particularly bad cold storage unit or piece of equipment you would like to bring to the attention of our Team, please email the details of that equipment to GreenLabs@ucsc.edu.

Get Involved   


Interested in becoming a UCSC Certified Green Lab?

Want to join in on the Education & Outreach Programs?

Or have any questions about Green Labs?

Contact us at greenlab@ucsc.edu!