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Dedicated to sustainable research, operations and community

Welcome to our inaugural issue

Sustainability is becoming like second nature here at PNNL—it's an integral part of operations that enable mission outcomes and sustain a vibrant, healthy community.

Every three months, Second Nature will bring stories from the field and from the bench about how the Lab is actively committed to sustainability through its research, operations and people.

We'll also put you in touch with resources to support more sustainable living—at home and at work. In the new video, Stepping Lightly, engineer Shan Belew recalls a conversation with his wife in which she said, "At work you're a sustainability guru. Why don't you turn off the lights when you're at home?" Good question!

Just like your favorite jeans, sustainability feels good when you "wear" them. So go ahead, try it on. Actions that have a positive impact on the future feels good because it makes good sense—just like second nature.

Mike Moran, Program Manager
Kathleen Judd, Program Technical Lead


Alternative commuters gaining momentum

Bicycle commuter

More and more PNNL staff are stepping up to make adjustments to their lifestyle to lower their carbon footprint by biking, bussing, carpooling and walking to work. And now more than ever, staff members are taking advantage of the new Telework option and avoiding their commute altogether.

Since April 2012, we have avoided nearly 73,340 miles on the road, 44,493 lbs. of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Collectively, staff also lowered their gas expenses by $8,766.

RideShareOnline, a resource for Northwest commuters tailored for the PNNL community, makes finding a carpool partner easy. And if that's not enough incentive, registered commuters participated in a contest sponsored by the third-party vendor to win a trip to Europe.

The PNNL commute program offers monthly prizes too. The winner in October was cyclist Bill Richmond. Bill received a dozen Spudnuts and a coffee mug.

Join the other 200 PNNL employees on RideShare Online today!

New Telework training video

A new training video is being rolled out for teleworkers and their managers. Telework training is a requirement for all employees interested in regular telework and is highly encouraged for situational teleworkers as well. The video is shorter than the in-person training and can be done on your own schedule. Questions? Contact Telework Advocate Laura Turo.

The Telework Program, which began in March as a pilot in the Organizational Development directorate and EMSL, is now being rolled out Lab-wide. Our Lab-level goal is to have 40% of staff teleworking one day per week, on average, in order to reduce our carbon footprint and improve work/life balance.

PNNL and ADM collaborate for breakthrough

Out of 536 nominees—and only 37 selected for recognition in 18 categories—PNNL and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) have been selected as runners up in the Wall Street Journal's 2012 Technology Innovation Awards. The partners were recognized in the Materials and Other Base Technologies category for the commercial deployment of a process that converts renewables into propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is a chemical found in common household products that are used around the world and has traditionally been made using petroleum.

The new process—called Propylene Glycol from Renewable Sources, or PGRS—was developed at PNNL and licensed by ADM, and is now being used to manufacture renewables-based industrial and pharmaceutical grade propylene glycol in a newly constructed manufacturing facility near the company's headquarters in Decatur, Ill.

This is another great example of how PNNL is helping to make the world more sustainable through technology transfer.

Know anyone who lives sustainability values?

We all have the power to be everyday superheroes, especially when it comes to sustainability. Know someone who has gone above and beyond recently to demonstrate leadership through sustainable actions? We encourage you to nominate them for an award!

2012 DOE Sustainability Award received

Car charging station

In all, 18 commercial petroleum vehicles (15%) were eliminated from the PNNL fleet in FY12, with 25 more slated to be retired by FY13-end. Ten neighborhood electric vehicles have added to our fleet to help serve our grounds transportation needs more efficiently. The smaller electric vehicles were selected by the folks who use them in a collaborative effort between Fleet Management (Business Systems Directorate) and Facility Operations Management (Organizational Systems Directorate) staff.

Project to save 500,000 gallons of water

Picinic table

The product, pervious concrete, resembles traditional cement and was produced by a local company about 10 miles from PNNL. Used in the landscape project for the Environmental and Molecular Sciences Laboratory user facility walkways, pervious concrete, which looks a little like a chocolate rice krispy treat, allows water to percolate into the soil, thus eliminating erosion from run-off and facilitating ground water re-charge.

The landscape project is estimated to save approximately 500,000 gallons of irrigation water for the previously landscaped area each year. PNNL is the first local organization to use pervious concrete to support sustainable operations.

The garden thanks you


Our first true composting effort ever at PNNL was successful thanks to our volunteer building composting stewards.

The estimated total organic material collected was between 30-50 lb. /week (13.6 kg). The composted material was fully utilized by the Battelle Garden Club all summer. Since the cold weather brings the biological process to a halt, the composting program will resume in the spring.

Questions: Contact Jennifer Su-Coker, program manager.


United Way logo

Like many companies across the nation, the 2013 United Way Campaign is underway at PNNL. Our employees gave over $300,000 last year to sustain a vibrant local community. And Team Battelle volunteers logged 32,000 hours to community service. Kudos for giving generously of your time and resources to help the community in which we work and live.

If you have feedback, questions or story ideas for our next issue, please send to

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