Vol 10. Issue 6 / February 22, 2010

Going Green, Pound by Pound

By Melissa Wagoner and Mika Ono

When in life is more weight a good thing? At The Scripps Research Institute on both coasts, we're piling on the pounds, and it's a great thing. In 2009 alone, the institute recycled at least 232,000 pounds of materials—116 tons of goods diverted from landfills.

Scripps Research recently created the "Green Initiative" to promote environmental stewardship and sustainable development. The effort is focusing on a range of ways to make both the California and Florida campuses as environmentally friendly as possible.

"We are doing so much already at our two sites and there's so much more to be done," said Keith McKeown, vice president of Communications and Green Team chair. "Letting the institute family know what has been accomplished and urging them to do more is the Green Team mandate. We've got lots of ideas, and welcome more, about making the campuses—and your homes and communities—more green."

California Campus Greens Up

In addition to McKeown, the California campus Green team is led by Denise Daggett, manager of industrial hygiene in Environmental Health and Safety, Brian Walsh, sourcing manager in Procurement, and Pete Herold, vice president of Facilities Services. The group also includes department representatives from across the California facility.

Currently, the recycling program on the campus collects everything from paper products and plastics to laboratory waste and batteries. During 2009, Scripps California faculty and administration recycled more than 96,000 pounds of paper products, 48,000 pounds of cardboard, nearly 44,000 pounds of glass, 16,000 pounds of pipette tip boxes, nearly 8,000 pounds of aluminum and other metals, 1,350 lbs of fluorescent light bulbs, and more than 2,100 pounds of batteries. In addition, in 2009 the campus recycled 38,500 pounds of e-waste.

In a recent initiative, labs on the La Jolla campus recently received stickers to be placed on lab hoods. The "Green Up" stickers are a reminder for scientists to "sash down" lab hoods at the end of each workday and when away from the work area. Herold says that this simple task can save the institute thousands of dollars in energy consumption. (Contact Daggett at x4-8502 or daggett@scripps.edu if you have not received your hood sticker or need additional stickers.)

"The amount of energy that can be saved can make a real difference," says Daggett. "It's surprising how much energy can be saved. It's a great way to save energy and be safe in our labs."

In addition to recycling and hood energy conservation, Scripps California is also engaging in several programs designed to make the campus more environmentally friendly and to save the institute money. Scripps Research is part of the Critical Pricing Program (CPP) through Sempra Energy. On days of extreme heat, the campus is asked to cut its energy consumption in exchange for a discounted energy rate throughout the year. The institute has saved thousands of dollars as well as energy by taking part in this program.

In addition, Scripps Research is planning to take part in a program through the City of San Diego where reclaimed water will be available at a discounted rate to hydrate the campus's vegetation and landscape. No small feat, this project has taken several years to get off the ground, but the institute has remained diligent in ensuring its position in program. Ongoing projects, such as installing water conservation kits in older autoclaves and using "smart timeclocks" on the campus-wide sprinkler system are keeping the campus green in more ways than one.

Scripps Florida Strives for Responsible Environmental Stewardship

Scripps Florida is an active part of the green initiative.

"Our goal is responsible environmental stewardship," said Larry Wylie, director of Scripps Florida Environmental Health and Safety and a Green Team member. "This goal is intended to meet our ethical commitment, uphold our federal and state regulatory responsibilities, and achieve cost saving that will allow more money to be directed to research versus overhead costs."

As a new campus, Wylie notes that Scripps Florida has an energy saving advantage—operating with new efficient boilers, chillers, and computer-managed HVAC systems. Building materials were selected to be of lower toxicity and environmental impact. The electronics are also new.

Spearheading Scripps Florida's green initiative is Jason Timm, who is working in cooperation with all administrative and research departments. The campus has begun to recycle paper, cardboard, pallets, aluminum, and glass, and has a recycling center in Building A. Old cooking oil is used for a bio-fuel demonstration project. In addition, the campus partners with Stericycle to recycle electronic/computer e-waste, batteries, and the few mercury-containing bulbs.

Many people have contributed to Scripps Florida's green initiative. George Sutherland, Facilities Services manger has examined chiller water utilization and energy conservation opportunities; Darci Garbacz's Procurement team helps to provide chemical inventory management (reducing running inventory amounts and thus outdated chemicals, waste, and cost) and orders green custodial chemicals. Colin Easson, manager of Building Services and Security, and many scientists have successfully worked together to lower fume hood sashes and reduce electrical energy consumption.

"This is just the beginning," noted Wylie. "Scripps Florida scientists and staff should feel free to call us with environmental green ideas."

Look Out for Green Initiative Activities

Events on and around the 41st Earth Day on April 22 will promote environmental awareness at Scripps Research.

The annual Scripps California "Green Feat" event for employees on the La Jolla campus will take place on April 15 and the Green Initiative E-waste Collection Day is set for April 21. Activities are planned on April 22 at Scripps Florida. Look to future issues of News&Views and the Green Feat and Green Initiative's soon-to-go-live websites for more information, volunteer opportunities, and green tips and projects.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu