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

Take Action

Every employee at PNNL has the power to help minimize use of materials and waste. The Lab cannot accomplish its goals without you.

Watch the videos below to learn more about actions some employees are taking to help the Lab operate more sustainably:

Fund Your Ideas with "Sustainability Pay$"

Are you a staff member with a great idea to help green PNNL's operations? Know of a new technology, improved methodology, or behavior change that would help reduce PNNL's impact on the environment? Sustainability Pay$ program funds staff-driven projects that will have a direct and measurable impact on PNNL's environmental stewardship and safety. Email:

Employee Commmute

Every PNNL employee has the power to reduce PNNL's carbon footprint from commuting. Not only do alternate commute methods reduce emissions but it also prevents costly wear and tear on your personal vehicle.

Take the Pledge

Green your commute with the following actions:

Business Travel

Rethinking how and why we travel for business can be challenging but reducing business travel can result in lower costs, higher productivity, an improved work-life balance as well as a reduction in PNNLs carbon footprint. Before you book your next travel consider if the meetings could be handled with our collaboration ready conference rooms (Connected@PNNL) or if an online version of the training you’re attending is available. If travel is necessary, try to consolidate it by planning ahead and achieving multiple objectives in a single trip.

Lights Off

Cutting back our energy use at PNNL saves money and the environment. While investments in facilities and system efficiency improvements can get us a long way toward reaching our goals, every PNNL employee has the power to reduce our carbon footprint from energy consumption in buildings. Think about your workspace and how you might help.

Take the Pledge

In office spaces, pledge to reduce your energy use:

  • Choose power settings that put computers and monitors to sleep when away.
  • Install a smart power strip in workstations with three or more peripheral devices. Contact to request one.
  • Enter a service request to deal with HVAC issues and eliminate space heaters.
  • Remove personal refrigerators and use the shared refrigerators provided.
  • Use natural and task lighting instead of overhead lighting, when feasible.
  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Use networked printers and remove personal printers, unless required.

In laboratory spaces, take action to reduce energy:

  • Close the sash on fume hoods when not in use.
  • Enter a service request to take fume hoods out of service if they are not in active use for containment.
  • Turn off unused equipment (e.g., ovens, incubators) at night, or request a timer from your cognizant space manager.
  • Clean out expired or unused samples and consolidating samples in cold storage.
  • "Chill up" ultra-low temperature freezers from -80°C to -70°C, or the warmest suitable temperature.
  • Choose high efficiency refrigerators, freezers, and other equipment when making a new purchase. Contact Procurement for more information.
  • Consolidate loads in autoclaves and lab dishwashers and run at full capacity whenever possible.

Every employee at PNNL has the power to help minimize use of materials and waste. The Lab cannot accomplish its goals without you.

Take the Pledge

Commit to reduce waste and materials use by:

  • Printing less.
  • Recycling all possible materials, from toner cartridges to batteries to electronic media. Ask the  for guidance.
  • Making the next meeting or event you host "zero waste?" Email the for details.
  • Check ChemAgain for redistributed items available to PNNL staff at no charge before buying new chemicals.
  • Only buy paper that contains at least 30% recycled content fiber.
  • Looking for pollution prevention ideas in your area of work and submitting ideas to the .
  • Checking with the Warehouse for excessed equipment that can be re-used before buying new.
  • Checking with the B2B Program for environmentally friendly options when purchasing new office supplies.
  • Composting your solid food waste in a near-by kitchen (if this service is available in your building).
VPP Picnic

While water use can be managed to a great extent through installation of high efficiency equipment, there are still ways you, as a building occupant, can help conserve water at PNNL.

Take the Pledge

Pledge to minimize your water use by:

  • Taking note of opportunities to reduce water usage in laboratories and contact your building manager with ideas.
  • Reporting any leaks you see immediately to your building manager.

Top 10 Sustainability Actions

Are you ready to take action? Here are the top 10 things you can do:

  • Turn off all lights and equipment when not in use
  • Avoid a traditional commute (e.g., bike/walk/carpool/bus to work) once a week
  • Telework once a week
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, and reclaim
  • Use network printers and eliminate personal printers
  • Purchase energy efficient new equipment
  • Purchase bio-based products or products with recycled material
  • Conserve water and report any water leaks to your building manager
  • Shop local and volunteer in the community
  • Operate lab equipment sustainably (e.g., close the fume-hood sash when not in use or chill up your ultra-low-temp freezer to -70°C)

PNNL Sustainability