I2SL Space Utilization Award - School of Medicine and Facilities ManagementJan 14, 2024
The School of Medicine was awarded the Space Utilization Award from the International Institute of Sustainability in Labs (I2SL) in the fall of 2023. In late 2021, the Dean of the School of Medicine along with the Director and staff of Planning and Facilities, set out to better understand the use of lab space in 5 research buildings. It was understood that past allocation of space was no longer viable and a new approach for determining use and to maximize utilization of research space was needed. This “Clean Out” project commenced to engage the research community on a new, more granular efficiency assessment approach that would look at the concept of different space needs for different types of research as opposed to the historical approach of assigning lab space to match research expenditures. What followed was the evaluation and the “cleanup” of 44,000 square feet to decrease clutter and organize, dispose of unused legacy equipment, look for opportunities to share resources, upgrade to more efficient equipment, and to dispose of abandoned or unwanted biological materials and chemicals. This process involved several internal (notably, Facilities Management and EH&S) and external partners and can serve as an example of an innovative laboratory sustainability project to promote efficiency in labs that avoids major investment in technology or construction. In fact, it prevents the need to construct new lab spaces on the campus which assists in greenhouse gas mitigation efforts and the University’s commitment to reducing its impact on climate change.