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Sustainable research, operations and community
December 2015 (Vol.3, No. 3)
In this issue...
In early 2016, PNNL will release its comprehensive sustainability report using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. The GRI report provides an integrated look at the social, economic and environmental impacts of our performance. It allows us to track our progress in a consistent way over time and gauge whether we're excelling in all three areas. The full report appears only on-line, with a hard-copy "highlights" report available. By thinking holistically while focusing on what is most important to our stakeholders, we steward the long-term success of PNNL.
PNNL encourages staff (who are able) to work remotely by providing the tools, equipment and technical resources needed. Many of our conference rooms are equipped with high-tech video equipment and staff are quickly becoming adept at using Skype, sometimes from mobile devices, to hold virtual meetings from anywhere.
This helps us strike a better work/life balance, which helps make for a happier, more engaged and productive workforce. By avoiding commutes, the Telework Option also yields environmental benefits; therefore, the commute emissions reduction strategy will continue to emphasize increased telework in FY16 and beyond.
PNNL's goal is 20% of all employees teleworking one day per week on average by 2020 (40% by 2025). In 2015, 5% of employees teleworked once per week on average.
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PNNL is deemed a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business. We encourage bicycling for wellness and for the environment.
The PNNL sustainability team recently delivered the 2016 Site Sustainability Plan, "Mission-Ready for a Sustainable Future," to the Department of Energy (DOE) Sustainability Program Office. Through narratives, photos, success stories, charts and graphs, it quantifies PNNL's progress in fiscal year (FY) 2015 toward the environmental goals the DOE sets forth for national laboratories.
The report also features our FY16 plan for pushing forward to meet our targets and a scorecard which shows progress toward the social and economic goals we've set for ourselves. See "Integrated Sustainability."
Bree Sadler is an Environmental Compliance Rep. As a former researcher, Bree is committed to protecting the environment in both her work and home life. Her family recycles at home and stays in touch with nature through outdoor activities like skiing, camping, backpacking, river-rafting, fishing, and trail/cross-country running. Bree recognizes that the more information and support she can give busy researchers, the more likely everyone will be to save energy and recycle. Through the distribution of recycling containers around building and lab-spaces, identifying novel approaches to waste and chemical management, and giving presentations, she encourages lab-wide sustainability efforts. One of her favorite quotes is: "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt," —John Muir.
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$ is awarding funding for staff-driven projects that will have a direct and measurable impact on PNNL's environmental stewardship and safety.
Applications for projects that result in reducing building energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; minimizing use of water; traveling smarter by reducing impacts of business travel or employee commuting; reducing material purchases; pollution prevention (e.g., reducing material purchases and waste or acquiring green products, etc.) will be considered for funding. Over $50k in funding was awarded in 2015. Don't miss the Jan. 29 proposal deadline — PNNL staff may submit ideas by contacting project manager Jennifer Su-Coker.
A recently completed DOE Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) assessment noted evidence of continual improvement in safety programs, staff awareness, and leadership. One opportunity for improvement lies in the area of staff complacency and staff not paying attention to their surroundings. They strongly recommend continuation of our VPP STAR status—the highest achievement level and the core of DOE-VPP.
In addition, a successful ISO 14001 surveillance audit confirmed that our Environmental Management System is in conformance with the ISO 14001 Management System; no "non-conformances" were issued.
Noteworthy practices mentioned by the auditors include:
The Battelle Build Habitat for Humanity home for the Pah Taw and Peh Htoo family (above) at 506 S. Oak St., Kennewick, was dedicated on Dec. 5. As part of the Lab's 50th Anniversary, Battelle contributed $80,000 for construction. Mark Hartzell, Earth & Biological Sciences Directorate, did an outstanding job as project coordinator. A dedicated team of retirees and several staff members contributed their time to work on the house.
PNNL joined forces with three long-standing education partners in 2014 to form the "Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory," combining the notions of collaboration and laboratory. Membership tripled in the first year. Activities include in- and out-of-school "family engineering" events, computer science, career videos and teacher professional development. Curious about who PNNL's partners are and what's being done to improve STEM learning in Eastern Washington? See stories of impact on the website, subscribe, Facebook.
If you have feedback, questions or story ideas for our next issue, please send an email to Sustainability@pnnl.gov.