NNSA honors LA in 2014 Sustainability Awards

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Lab > Building and instrument efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction efforts noted

By The Staff

The National Nuclear Security Administration this week awarded 15 Sustainability Awards for innovation and excellence to its national laboratories and sites, and Los Alamos National Laboratory is among the winners, with honorees in both the Best in Class and Environmental Stewardship categories.
“Los Alamos has worked hard to increase efficiency and protect natural resources across our site,” said Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan. “Innovative approaches to sustainability and greenhouse gas reduction are just two areas where we seek to be the best possible stewards of the environment and we share with the communities of northern New Mexico. It is through the cumulative effect of these efforts over time that we can accomplish our mission in a sustainable manner.”
The awards recognize exemplary individual and team performance in advancing sustainability objectives through innovative and effective programs and projects that increase energy, water and fleet efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases, pollution and waste.
Michael Brandt, director of the laboratory’s Environment, Safety and Health Directorate said, “The steady conversion of a large organization to an attitude and a state of sustainability relies on the quiet leadership and persistent effort of talented individuals. Change does not come easily to any organization imbued with strong cultural beliefs. We are proud of our accomplishments, our change agents and our champions for environment.”
In the Best In Class category, Los Alamos was honored for Green Buildings: High Performance Sustainable Building Integrated Commissioning Team. This award recognized the project for implementing comprehensive green building principles and making progress toward meeting the Guiding Principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings. The project involved re-commissioning buildings to optimize performance of existing systems such as heating and electrical controls. Re-commissioning entailed adjusting building systems and retrofitting with automated systems for activities such as control of room temperature and hot water for occupied/unoccupied time periods and sequencing systems for more efficient operation.
For Environmental Stewardship Awards, the laboratory earned the following:
Change Agent: Jean Dewart: This award category recognizes an individual who takes the initiative to foster behavior change. Starting in 1995, Dewart was the driving force to establish and maintain the laboratory’s Earth Day activities. Now endorsed by the laboratory director, the annual month-long event has fostered enduring practices of site sustainability, worker lifestyle changes, reduction in electrical and heating use and green transportation initiatives.
Exceptional Service/Sustainability Champion: Dr. John S. Isaacson – A Sustainability Champion. The exceptional/sustainability champion demonstrates a history of exemplary performance in leading implementation of sustainable practices. Isaacson was instrumental in envisioning and creating the laboratory’s long-term strategy for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, integrating existing practices while creating a shared fate in an improved future.
Greenhouse Gas Scope 1 and 2: Eliminating Sulfur Hexafluoride in X-Ray Pulsers. This award category recognizes site greenhouse gas reduction strategies and management approaches that address Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Some X-ray pulsers used for collecting data on explosives tests required sulfur hexafluoride to prevent damage from electrical arcs. By reengineering the medium-sized pulsers, the laboratory was able to convert them to use only air, thus eliminating potential GHG emissions.
Renewable Energy: Implementation of Field Based Photo Voltaic Charging of Automated Samplers. This award category recognizes outstanding achievements in planning, design and constructing renewable energy to replace or lower conventional energy consumption. By installing 83 field-based solar chargers, the storm water sampling team saved time, electricity and transportation costs for retrieving and reinstalling batteries.