10 Ways We 'Walk the Sustainable Walk' at PNNL
Using our own science to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impacts
When it comes to sustainability, we don't just 'talk the talk.' By using our campus as a living laboratory to test innovative concepts, upgrading our assets, and promoting conservation behavior, we 'walk the walk.' Here are 10 things we're doing to help create a more economically, socially, and environmentally prosperous PNNL.
- Building Energy Use
We've reduced building energy use intensity by 22 percent from a 2003 baseline. Our newer facilities are designed with sustainability in mind—36 percent of our campus portfolio reported to DOE includes certified, sustainable buildings. For building operations, we perform real-time monitoring at our Building Operations Control Center. This tracks energy use across our campus, which is becoming more efficient through efforts such as the Clean Energy & Transactive Campus project.
- Using Renewable Energy
We purchase 53 percent of our electricity from renewable sources. We're also generating our own energy with 528 onsite solar panels, located adjacent to our Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL). The panels produce 175,000 kWh each year, which we use to charge electric vehicles and high-end laboratory equipment in EMSL.
- Water Use
Our building water use intensity is down 67 percent from our fiscal year 2007 baseline. Advanced water meters allow for continuous monitoring and trend analysis to detect water conservation opportunities. Also contributing to the reduction is our upgraded cooling tower system and our high-efficiency toilets and faucets.
- Staff Energy Conservation Campaigns
Participation in our 'Rock the Watt' internal campaign results in staff conservation actions—such as using computer sleep settings and turning off unused lab equipment—saving an estimated 120,000 kWh each year. Our 'Sustainability Pay$' program funds other staff-driven projects that improve our environmental stewardship.
- LED Lighting Upgrades
Our campus is gradually being updated with LED lighting for outdoor fixtures in parking lots and along walking paths. So far, we've replaced 73 poles fitted with high-pressure sodium lamps with 60 poles fitted with LED lamps that are operated by photocells. This upgrade results in an estimated annual savings of 6,200 kWh, and additional retrofits are in the works.
- Waste Diversion
In 2015, we diverted 54 percent of our nonhazardous solid waste from landfills through recycling and composting. We expanded our paper, aluminum, and plastic recycling by placing recycling bins in approximately 40 laboratory spaces. Other efforts include diverting 86 percent of our construction and demolition waste and the redirection of more than 650 container chemicals via our ChemAgain program.
- Sustainable Supplies
We've reduced purchases of uncoated copy and printing paper by 47 percent since 2011. Of the paper we do purchase, nearly all—97 percent—is 30 percent or more recycled content. In addition, we received a bronze-level DOE GreenBuy Award for our "green purchasing" in 2015.
- Clean Commuting
We've installed 15 electric vehicle charging stations for staff use and an additional 16 stations dedicated to our fleet vehicles. More charging stations are on the way. During the National Bike to Work Challenge last May, 90 of our staff logged 20,160 miles—doubling 2014 participation.
- Fleet Vehicles
We've reduced our fleet petroleum fuel consumption by 25 percent from our 2005 baseline. We accomplished this in part by switching to alternative fuel vehicles and optimizing our routes. Alternative fuels have replaced 19 percent of our total fuel use, and we have eliminated non-mission-critical fleet vehicles from our inventory.
- Telework Option
Our staff are encouraged to telework at least one day each week (on average) to help reduce greenhouse emissions associated with commuting. Currently, five percent of staff participate weekly, with a total of 28,185 telework days recorded in 2015.