Sustainability program earns ORNL two awards

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Sept. 9, 2010 -- Exemplary efforts to "go green" at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have resulted in a 2010 Federal Energy & Water Management Award and a 2010 Department of Energy Management Award in recognition of the lab's Sustainable Campus Initiative.

The Federal Interagency Energy Policy Committee and DOE's Federal Energy Management Program recognized ORNL for its outstanding achievements in energy, water and fleet management. The awards will be presented at ceremonies held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 6-7.

"These awards validate our belief that we can deliver great science in a way that is environmentally sustainable," said ORNL Director Thom Mason.

ORNL's Sustainable Campus Initiative is a laboratory-wide effort that builds upon the lab's strength as a premier science and technology organization in integrating energy efficiency, robust and cutting-edge technologies, operational and business processes and behavior to achieve sustainability. Launched October 2008, the initiative continues a modernization program that began in 2002.

 
Sustainable practices like native landscaping are incorporated into new facilities on ORNL's west campus.
For instance, due to an aggressive commitment to building LEED-certified buildings combined with other energy saving measures, ORNL has added 35 percent more area to the lab with only a 6 percent increase in energy consumption when comparing 2009 data with a 2000 baseline. ORNL has 1 million square feet of energy efficient LEED-certified campus space.

ORNL's sustainable practices in new construction are paralleled by ongoing work to retrofit existing facilities to meet LEED standards. Through operational efficiency upgrades, Building 1059 on ORNL's west campus was certified as a successful LEED Gold Existing Building. Applying the retrofit "template" from Building 1059 will allow the lab to obtain future certifications for some 14 identical office facilities.

Further sustainability efforts at ORNL are visible across the lab's campus, including three solar installations, the steam plant's conversion to biomass, waste reduction, a fleet of shared bicycles and an electric vehicle initiative.

One of the solar installations directly supports an initiative to maximize cost effective energy efficiency at ORNL's Buildings Technology and Research Integration Center. The 288 ft by 10 ft solar collector provides 60 megawatt hours per year to power one office building's energy needs, which were previously reduced from 100 megawatt hours per year through energy saving technologies.

In addition to energy saving efforts, water conservation projects at ORNL, such as replacing standard plumbing fixtures with low-flow alternatives and reusing rainwater for irrigation, saved 63 million gallons of water with an associated cost avoidance of $104,700.

The Sustainable Campus Initiative continues to spearhead ORNL's efforts to provide leadership in sustainability by embracing sustainable practices and using its enormous expertise to benefit interested individuals, communities, commercial and industrial facilities and the nation.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

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