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Sustainable PNNL - Balancing social, environmental, and economic needs for a more sustainable future

Message from the Director

Steven Ashby, Laboratory Director

Dr. Steven Ashby, Director
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

At the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), we have long recognized that excellence in scientific discovery, technological innovation, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility is foundational to delivering solutions to some of America’s greatest challenges.

In fiscal year (FY) 2016, we achieved many successes, including impactful contributions to our sponsors’ missions, strong programmatic growth, and investment in our campus and people. We also managed operations with distinction, including improved safety and reduced costs. Together with our academic and industry partners, we are building innovative solutions to protect the environment and reduce energy, waste, and water use through smarter technologies.

In this report, we share a snapshot of our FY2016 activities aimed at global sustainability challenges across the science, energy, environmental, and security realms, including:

  • Leading the way for sustainable design – Our campus master plan is putting our sustainability science and technology (S&T) to use right here at home. This year, we put the finishing touches on another building that achieves the Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Buildings, broke ground on our new S&T Collaboration Center, and implemented several novel concepts to support sustainable operations.
  • Planning for a cleaner future – This year, our research into hydrothermal liquefaction explored how human waste may be converted into biocrude oil with properties similar to fossil fuels. Additionally, both of the PNNL technologies recognized with R&D 100 Awards this year address environmental concerns—one contributes to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and the other tracks contamination beneath the Earth’s surface.
  • Going green in our purchasing – We were one of four DOE sites to earn the top honor of Three-Star 2016 EPEAT® (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) Purchaser Award for excellence in the sustainable procurement of electronics. Nearly 100 percent of our eligible acquisitions were EPEAT-registered products and Energy Star certified.
  • Fostering the next generation – In addition to hosting more than 1,000 interns, fellows, and research associates this year, we welcomed more than 480 children to Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day to engage them in science, technology, engineering, and math activities and careers.

Going forward, I believe that PNNL is positioned to make even greater contributions, delivering more impactful S&T and providing solutions for more affordable and environmentally friendly operations. We will continue our focus on creating a culture of creativity and innovation, strength¬ening partnerships with our sponsors and the scientific community, and becoming more widely recognized as a world-class scientific research institution. We hope this annual report enables you to follow our triple-bottom-line journey of environmental, social, and economic responsibility.

Steve Ashby

PNNL Sustainability