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Sustainable research, operations and community

Staff Sustainability Projects Funded

The Sustainability Pays Program, with supplemental funding from the National Security Directorate and Pollution Prevention Program, awarded nearly $50,000 to projects/suggestions with the best payback and measurable impacts on PNNL's Triple Bottom Line performance:

  • Pat Clark and Ken McMullin: install motion sensors in EMSL storage rooms that are largely uninhabited to decrease power use and building maintenance costs associated with replacing bulbs/ballasts.
  • Kathleen Judd: Building Sustainability Champions (BSC). This proposal builds off the successful "Rock the Watt" conservation campaign and will institutionalize the BSC as an ongoing advocate for a sustainability culture shift at PNNL.
  • Reji Nair, Aaron Wright and Colette Sacksteder: modify the current rovotap setup, so the 3 rotatory evaporators are supported with just one single pump and chiller to reduce energy consumption.
  • Isaac Arnquist, install an acid distiller enabling conversion of typical acid and waste acid to high purity acid. Significant cost reductions can be achieved from the reuse of waste acid and changes in procurement from high purity acids to typical grade acid.
  • Additionally, Laurie True noted that the offices in Sigma II are not equipped with auto light switches. This year auto switches will be installed in all offices in Sigma II first, as part of the Sustainability Program's long-term laboratory-wide lighting improvement plan.
  • Brad Johnson proposed we install new or upgraded bike racks at PNNL to encourage and promote alternative commuting through cycling. The Sustainability Program has committed to conduct an evaluation on bike racks and identify a path forward for improvement.

Green Your Commute—Try a Healthier Alternative

Can you commit to trying an alternative commute method once a week?

Our daily commute contributes to the carbon footprint of PNNL, and we have goals to reduce the Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions 25% from 2008 levels by 2025. Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions include emissions from business travel and your personal commute to work.

The good news: there are great alternatives to a traditional commute to PNNL that can promote work-life balance, save you money, and help reduce PNNL's impact on the earth!

Take a healthy alternative like biking or walking to work. Carpool with a coworker and get to know them better. Take the bus and read a book (or email) on the way. Work from home; get an hour back in your day.

Sadie BenderNeed help? Sadie Bender of the Energy and Environment Directorate is PNNL's new Alternative Commute Coordinator. She will be working hard in the coming months share information about alternatives and make it easier for you to use them. If you have alternative commuting success stories, lessons learned, questions or suggestions please reach out to Sadie at .


PNNL to Give Helping Hand to Small Green Energy Businesses


Hydropower costs could be reduced, buildings could use less energy and adhesives could be made from plants under three new projects announced by the Department of Energy. PNNL is being awarded a total of $625,000 to advance these technologies. The three projects are part of the first round of funding for DOE's new Small Business Vouchers Pilot. Nearly $6.7 million in total funding was announced today to support technologies being developed by 33 different small businesses. Each small business will also provide an additional 20 percent in cost-share funding or in-kind services for each project.


PNNL Awarded for Excellence in GREEN Purchasing

PNNL recently received a bronze-level Department of Energy (DOE) GreenBuy Award for 2015. When it comes to buying environmentally friendly products, PNNL purchasing goes above and beyond the minimum compliance requirements.

The GreenBuy Program, launched in 2010, recognizes DOE sites for excellence in purchasing products that save energy, conserve water, and reduce health and environmental impacts. This year's award recognizes PNNL's exemplary compliant purchasing in the following areas:

  1. Custodial: janitorial floor care products and tissue;
  2. Construction: carpet; and
  3. Office products: computer thin clients, workstations and TVs.

Special thanks to those who helped prepare and submit the application (Jennifer Su-Coker and Dan Edwards (Environmental Planning), Brianna Durkin (B2B Program), Pam Ralston (Facility Services), and Scott Snyder (Computing Services). The real kudos go to the staff at PNNL for their decisions purchasing decisions — keep up the great work!


Fostering Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers

Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory

PNNL's Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory hosted a train-the-trainer workshop which brought together 25 community partners and educators to learn how to host their own Family Engineering events. By engaging in hands-on activities from the Family Engineering resource, participants honed their own ability to help facilitate similar events in our community. It's a move to sustain our impact and get the next generation excited about engineering for years to come. Community partners play a key role in strong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education "ecosystems" (LaForce et al., 2014).