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Earth Month in Review

05/11/17 - Check out what you might have missed from the Lab’s April Earth Month celebration, including

Climate Lab Videos

04/20/17 - UC presents Climate Lab, a six-part video series on climate change, featuring UCLA visiting researcher M. Sanjayan, and researchers and experts from the UC community.

The videos explore surprising ways to change how we think and act about climate change, including lifestyle choices and groundbreaking work on mitigation.

UC campuses are leading cutting edge research on climate impacts, and the UC system has an ongoing commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in operations by 2025.

Participate in Earth Month in April!

3/28/17 - Explore food sustainability through a traveling art show. Learn about the Lab’s energy use through new online data systems. Learn about special moments in the natural history of the Lab. Stop by the Safety, Security, & Sustainability Fair. Participate in Earth Month! Subscribe to the Sustainable Berkeley Lab calendar or see details below!

Shyh Wang Hall achieves LEED Gold!

3/24/17 - Shyh Wang Hall (B59) is the Lab’s sixth building to earn LEED certification, and has achieved LEED Gold. The Lab has one LEED Platinum and five LEED Gold certifications. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a prominent green building certification that rates a building’s sustainability aspects, including indoor environmental quality and the efficient use of water, energy, and materials.

Water-Efficient Restrooms

3/8/17 - Recent restroom retrofits at the Lab are saving over half a million gallons of water annually. Sustainable Berkeley Lab partnered with Facilities to replace urinals and install dual-flush toilet handles in the highest used restrooms across the hill campus.

In addition, all of the old fixtures were diverted from landfill -- with 2098 lbs of porcelain converted into road aggregate, and 258 lbs of metal recycled through the Lab’s normal salvage process.

This effort was made possible by support from DOE’s Sustainability Performance Office, and aligns with the Lab’s goal to reduce water use intensity 36% by 2025.


Big Electric Vehicle Discount for Employees

03/6/17 - For a limited time, Berkeley Lab employees are eligible for a steep $10,000 discount on a Nissan Leaf, in addition to other federal and state rebates. Offer ends 3/31/2017 or while supplies last. Learn more.

New Lab Fridges are 70% More Efficient

02/27/17 - SBL’s 2016 Refrigerator Replacement Project has verified that its new refrigerators use 70% less energy on average.

This project:

  • Surpassed expectations of 50% savings
  • Cut total break room refrigerator energy use on the Hill by ~25%
  • Replaced ~50 old and inefficient break room refrigerators (more than a quarter of the total)
  • Verified energy savings through energy metering of both the old and new fridge
  • Reduced the usage of harmful refrigerants
  • Was supported by the UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Fellowship Program
  • Supports Lab sustainability goals.

Learn more about the project

Your refrigerator is one of the biggest energy-using appliances. Save money and energy by upgrading your old refrigerator -- see the Refrigerator Purchasing Guide.

Berkeley Lab Site Sustainability Plan

1/30/17 - Check out the Lab’s Site Sustainability Plan (SSP) for fiscal year 2017, detailing sustainability performance in FY16, and plans for FY17. The plan covers more than 30 sustainability goals.

For more details, see:


  • Total greenhouse gas emissions are 21% below 2008 levels (Goal: 41% by 2025).
    See graph | More about Climate
  • Waste diversion is at 70% (Goal: 75% by 2020)
    See graph | More about Waste
  • Water use intensity is 34% below 2007 levels  (Goal: 36% by 2025).
    See graph | More about Water.


Welcome to Brie Fulton!

12/14/16 - Brie Fulton joined the Sustainable Berkeley Lab team as the new Sustainability Program Manager. She leads the development and implementation of the Lab's waste diversion activities, as well as supporting other sustainability objectives such as climate and water conservation goals and increasing sustainable purchasing. See Brie’s full bio on the Lab Directorate Staff page. Welcome, Brie!

Energy-Saving New Refrigerators

8/12/16 - We’re replacing the Lab’s old, inefficient, break room refrigerators with new models that use half the energy. This project supports the Lab’s effort to meet the Federal goal of reducing greenhouse gases 50% by 2025. Learn more about the project.

Have an old refrigerator at home? Save money and energy by upgrading to a new Energy Star certified refrigerator. For more guidance on choosing a new refrigerator, for the Lab or home, see the Refrigerator Purchasing Guide.

Chu Hall achieves LEED Gold!

8/12/16 - Chu Hall has earned LEED Gold certification, joining four other LEED-certified buildings at the Lab. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a prominent green building certification that rates a building’s sustainability aspects, including indoor environmental quality and the efficient use of water, energy, and materials. See a detailed overview of Chu Hall’s LEED Profile.

The Lab now has five LEED certifications:

Updated Waste Guide Now Available!

7/18/16 - Get a copy of the new Waste Guide, with updated guidance on what to do with batteries, chemicals, foam peanuts, broken office furniture, etc. Visit the Berkeley Lab Cleanup website to download the new Waste Guide (pictured on the right in blue), which prints best in 11” x 17”. And please help us eradicate and replace the obsolete waste management poster (aka “Green” poster) pictured on the left! Have you seen one? Contact

New Solar Array Serving the Lab

6/3/16 - The Lab is now taking delivery of clean renewable electricity from a new solar array constructed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The 10-acre installation was dedicated in May, and represents the largest solar array in the DOE Complex. The Livermore site was chosen due to its superior location for solar. Berkeley Lab has entered a long-term agreement to purchase 20% of the power generated by the new array. While this represents a small fraction of Berkeley Lab’s energy use, it is a significant step in our commitment to renewable energy.

More EV Stations Coming in 2016

6/1/16 - Installation begins in June for up to fifteen new EV charging stations. These stations are part of the Lab’s efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, and support the growing number of staff electric vehicles (EVs). The new stations should come online later in 2016, and will bring the total to twenty-four, or less than 1% of all parking spaces. All charging spaces require a permit to use, and will be designated with a sign and/or paint on the pavement.

Earth Month Recap

5/11/16 -  Check out photos, videos, and other resources from the Lab’s April Earth Month celebration:

April is Earth Month - Participate!

4/4/16 - Join an environmental walk around the Lab, learn about California’s water and energy resources, and learn what to do with your most challenging waste items. Each week of April features a themed Earth Day event (waste, water, energy, safety). Check out the Earth Month calendar below, and participate!

The Word on Water: Keep Conserving

2/29/16 - The statewide drought continues, but rain or shine, conserving water is always the right choice in California’s dry climate. This season’s precipitation is falling short of expectations given the El Niño conditions, and after five years of below normal rainfall, California’s reservoirs remain low. It will take several years of above-average rainfall to end the drought.

The Lab has embraced the challenge to reduce baseline water use, and implemented the following actions: 1) discontinued all automated landscape irrigation, 2) installed aerators in restroom faucets across the main site, 3) placed "leak reporting" stickers in main-site bathrooms, 4) established water-use monitoring for cooling towers, 5) launched a restroom fixture retrofit program at the main site, and 6) developed a website to monitor forecasts and precipitation.

Learn what you can do at work and at home to help save this precious resource.

KQED’s Bay Curious Explains SF’s Recycling

1/5/16 - KQED’s Bay Curious recently explained Recology’s process to handle recycling coming from San Francisco. The piece is fun and relevant to our site. Our waste hauler uses much of the same processes to sort our recycling, so we can follow the same rules, such as recycle all rigid plastics regardless of the numbers and some food/beverage residue is fine. Check out the great video featuring Recology’s new Material Recovery Facility and the cool workers and technology sorting the recycling.



Our New, Motivating Projects

12/23/15 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab is excited about a few new projects. In November, we started working with Facilities to upgrade the efficiency and temperature controls in Building 6 (the ALS). We are also in project design for a pilot of Daintree advanced lighting controls in Building 78, a small office space, which will allow better controllability of lighting, space conditioning, and plug loads. Lastly, we are partnering with the JGI to better understand electricity use of cold storage and benchtop equipment and learn possible controllability strategies.


New Climate Agreement from Paris

12/11/15 - For the first time we now have clear and relatively consistent climate mitigation goals established from the international to the institutional level. The United States has committed to a reduction of total greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Lab is committed by executive order to a 50% reduction in electricity and natural gas emissions below 2008 levels by 2025 and a 25% reduction in transportation-related emissions over the same period.

Annual Sustainability Reporting

12/4/15 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab submitted our annual Site Sustainability Plan and Consolidated Energy Data Report to the Department of Energy. These reports summarize Berkeley Lab’s performance compared to 30 federal sustainability goals and describe plans for the next fiscal year.

Berkeley Lab’s Sea Level Rise Risk

11/24/15 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab prepared a summary of sea level rise risk to Berkeley Lab. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report estimates 0.3-1 meter global sea level rise by 2100. Although this shouldn’t affect the main site infrastructure, the estimated rise could affect some satellite facilities and local transportation and utilities infrastructure. The document is here.


Welcome Karen Salvini

11/9/15 - Karen Salvini joined Sustainable Berkeley Lab as the Sustainability Project Manager. She will manage key energy efficiency projects and lead several employee engagement efforts. Karen formerly worked in Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. We are excited to have Karen join our team.


New California Legislation and ARB Policy

10/7/15 - Governor Jerry Brown has signed California state Senate Bill 350, setting aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. SB 350 increases the renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030. Energy efficiency is an essential first step to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve energy. SB 350 sets a goal of 50% increase in energy efficiency in existing buildings by 2030. In addition, CA air regulators approved a new policy that will reduce the amount of carbon from all transportation fuels by at least 10% by 2020. All of these goals are impressive and essential steps to achieve CA’s goal of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

Fiscal Year 2015 Achievements

9/30/15 - Fiscal Year 2015 was a busy year for us. Check out a list of our achievements. We’re looking forward to a great Fiscal Year 2016!


Main Site Gets a Bike Lane!

9/28/15 - Welcome Berkeley Lab’s first official bike lane! Chu Road was recently repaved between Blackberry Gate and the Bevatron traffic circle, and the new striping includes an uphill bike lane. A few weeks earlier, “sharrows” (a bicycle with arrows pointing forward) were painted on many downhill lanes, and signs saying that bicycles may use the full downhill lane were installed. These are great improvements to road safety around the Berkeley Lab main site, AND they support the Lab’s commitment to enable employees to use alternative means to commute to work.


New Buildings Open with Rethink Waste

7/31/15 - Two new buildings, 30 (also called Chu Hall or the Solar Energy Research Center) and 33 (also called the General Purpose Lab), opened recently and have adopted Rethink Waste quickly. Occupants have gradually moved in, and we have been installing new waste stations and signs to support waste sorting. Lab groups have set up recycling bins for their non-hazardous recyclable bottles, pipet tip boxes, etc. too. Thanks to our new neighbors who are enthusiastically joining the cause!

Successful 2015 CHESC

7/21/15 - The SBL team, including our summer intern and Facilities’ Controls Engineer, attended the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference. John, Deirdre, and Erin each presented and participated on panels to discuss EV Charging, energy data management, and waste diversion. We always enjoy catching up with our knowledgeable and enthusiastic sustainability colleagues from higher education campuses, who share lessons and success stories that translate well to our Federal site.

Zero Waste Intern and Mentor BBQ

7/17/15 - The 2015 summer BBQ for the interns and mentors was a successful zero waste event. Thank you to Joe Crippen for working closely with the caterer to provide compostable and recyclable materials. The Workforce Development and Education department continues to demonstrate their commitment to zero waste. Thank you!


Recycling in the Mainstream Media

7/10/15 - We were pleased to read and hear several news pieces about recycling in mainstream media (Washington Post, Marketplace, Diane Rehm interview). Recycling contamination, lightweighting, and global commodity markets have hurt the recycling industry. Recycling is still the cheaper disposal option, compared to landfilling waste, AND recycling can create stronger US-based, closed-loop supply chains. Do you have questions about what to recycle? Check out this  infographic, and you can always email questions to  

Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Sustainability Funding

7/9/15 - The DOE Sustainability Performance Office awarded Berkeley Lab with funding for two projects that have tangible influence to meet our federal sustainability goals and are difficult to fund through Berkeley Lab funding. The first project received $100,000 to retrofit two buildings to comply with High Performance Sustainable Building Guiding Principles. The second project received $65,000 to retrofit bathroom fixtures to water-efficient models across the main site. We’re very excited to get DOE support and move forward with these projects!


Welcome to Our Climate Neutrality Fellow

6/15/15 - Today we welcome Christine Li, who is joining us as a UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow for the summer. Christine finished her third year at Stanford University studying Civil and Environmental Engineering and Computer Science. She will be expanding use of an energy management software platform (Lucid Building OS) to encompass 25 buildings that emit 90% of the Lab’s buildings-related greenhouse gas emissions. Her work will establish an operational energy management platform and a standard process to identify energy saving opportunities in buildings. We’re excited to work with Christine!


I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream (Let’s Take Control of Our Climate Future)

6/3/15 - We love this video! Thank you, Ben & Jerry’s.


Successful Energy Optimization Pilot

4/30/15 - The energy optimization pilot project in Building 15 has reduced natural gas use by 50%. The pilot started in January as a collaboration between SBL, Facilities, and building occupants. It focused on changing lighting and heating/cooling schedules to match occupant use and educating occupants about how they can adjust the lighting and temperature of their spaces, especially during nights and weekends. We are continuing to monitor the systems to adjust the schedules as needed. Based on this experience, we will implement similar energy optimization measures in Building 74.

John Elliott’s Earth Week Energy Technologies Seminar

4/24/15 - A host of climate mitigation commitments, goals, and requirements at all policy levels require deep decarbonization beginning with dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years and leading to emissions per capita that are less than 1/10 current levels within 35 years. Berkeley Lab Chief Sustainability Officer John Elliott presented plans and progress to deeply decarbonize the Lab, focusing on our building portfolio (including both new construction and retrofit activities). Feel free to browse the presentation.


Volunteers Helped Launch a Composting and Gardening Study

4/22/15 - In honor of Earth Day, a group of volunteers and SBL helped ESD researchers set up a gardening and composting study aiming to better understand the nutrient ratios in compost and how the ratio influences plant growth. We weeded garden pods and planted tomato and snow pea seedlings and tomato, chile, carrot, corn, sunflower, and cucumber seeds. We also set up a compost pile with pre-consumer food scraps from the cafeteria (thank you, Epicurean!). Volunteers will help tend the plants and compost piles. Thank you to Facilities and EHS for helping to set up the site.


Waste Assessment Lessons

4/21/15 - A group of volunteers trekked to Golden Bear Transfer Station in Richmond, CA to sort and weigh Berkeley Lab’s landfill waste collected over one week. The total load weighed 3.9 tons. We saw a lot of block styrofoam and plastic film, which we expected. But we also saw (and smelled!) a lot of food waste and paper towels, which should go into the compost bins. One of the lessons we learned was that people are still putting food waste into their office bins, which then goes to the landfill. Remember to take food waste and compostable items to waste stations. Erin is always looking for volunteers to help educate peers and set up laboratory recycling, so email if you’re interested.


Conserve Water

Please Help Reduce the Lab’s Water Use for the Third Year in a Row

4/7/15 - California is in an exceptional drought and the Governor has ordered a statewide 25% reduction in urban water use. Please think seriously about ways that you can contribute to a third year of reducing the Lab’s water use by at least 15 percent. Resources and more information are available here.

New Sustainability Executive Order

3/19/15 - President Obama signed a new sustainability Executive Order, which intensifies the federal government goals by setting a ten year target to reduce energy use intensity by 28%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, increase renewable energy use to 30%, reduce water use intensity by 36%, and reduce fleet petroleum use by 30%. The new Executive Order 13693 Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade is the third major sustainability Executive Order and combines and updates the orders from the past 8 years. We are impressed and pleased with the federal government’s leadership in sustainbility. Here are the fact sheet and the full text.

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Expanded Compost Collection Inside AND Outside

3/6/15 - We have finished setting up Rethink Waste in buildings on the main site after 2 years of gradual roll-out. Rethink Waste brings new waste bins and signs to buildings to help occupants easily sort their waste into compost, recycling, and landfill waste bins. It also changes workspace waste service to help custodians prevent repetitive-motion injuries. Behind buildings, our hauler has also added compost carts in dumpster areas to increase the capacity of compost collection. This will result in higher waste diversion rates across the site. Hooray!

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Energy Optimization Pilot

1/28/15 - The Facilities Division and Sustainable Berkeley Lab are partnering to optimize energy use in buildings across the site. Many of our buildings run at close to the same level 24 hours per day. We are working to better match the operation of building heating/cooling and lighting systems to what occupants really need and to track performance over time. In January, we deployed the program as a pilot in Building 15. Based on this experience, we plan to expand the program next to Building 67, Building 74, and the new buildings coming online this year: GPL, SERC, and CRT.

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Berkeley Lab to Purchase Solar Power

1/13/15 - Berkeley Lab is developing a 3-MW, 10-acre solar array jointly with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The array will be installed by Juwi Solar at the Livermore site under a power purchase agreement later this year. Berkeley Lab will buy 20% of the array output. Read the press release here.


Annual Sustainability Reporting

12/8/14 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab submitted an annual Site Sustainability Plan and Consolidated Energy Data Report to the Department of Energy. These reports describe performance with respect to 21 federal sustainability goals and describe plans for the coming year. The reports are available here.

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DOE Recognizes Berkeley Lab for Staff Electric Vehicle Charging Program

11/18/14 - The Department of Energy recognized Berkeley Lab for its leadership in providing staff electric vehicle charging at the Workplace Charging Challenge Summit 2014. Fewer than 20% of all Challenge partners received this recognition, which was presented by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar. The Department of Energy launched the Workplace Charging Challenge in 2013 with the goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by 2018. For more information, contact Sustainable Berkeley Lab or the Workplace Charging Challenge.

Sustainability Achievements

11/12/14 - Fiscal Year 2014 was a busy year for Sustainable Berkeley Lab. Check out what we have been up to in this round-up.

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Rethink Waste Reaches JGI and 80% of the Main Site

10/31/14 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab, in close coordination with the Environmental/Health/Safety and Facilities Divisions, has greatly expanded the new waste diversion program over the last several months. The new program is now in place in the 50 complex, Protective Services (48), EHS buildings (26, 75, 75B, 85), and Engineering Division buildings (46, 57, 58, 71, 71B, 77, 77A). This brings Rethink Waste to about 80% of buildings on the main site. In addition, JGI added food waste collection to their waste diversion program! Thank you SO much to Pat Thorson for his impeccable coordination of bins and orders. Thank you to all of the occupants for adapting to the new processes and sorting their waste. And thank you to Custodial Services for partnering with us to make the processes successful. Check out our recent publicity!


Vendor Offers for Berkeley Lab Employees

9/15/14 - As University of California employees, we are eligible for some sustainability-related offers from Mosaic Solar Loan and Nissan. Find more information and links to sign up at the Sustainable Berkeley Lab website. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) does not endorse or recommend any products or services identified here.

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EV Enthusiasm at the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Fair

9/4/14 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab hosted a booth at the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Fair to talk to Berkeley Lab employees about EV charging and alternative commuting options. Three of our EV-charging permit holders brought their vehicles to show the variety of cars available. Thank you, Valerie, James, and Henrik! We also talked to fair visitors about some alternative commuting options, such as WageWorks and Zimride. Thank you to the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee for inviting us AND for taking care of road safety around Berkeley Lab.


WDE and Epicurean Achieve a Zero Waste Lunch

7/25/14 - Thank you to Workforce Development and Education and Epicurean for achieving about 99% waste diversion at the annual Mentor and Intern BBQ. The lunch produced 5 bags (~75 lbs) of compostable material, 1 bag (~5 lbs) of recycling, and 1 handfull (<1 lb) of landfill waste. This is fantastic!


Congratulations to Blair Horst!

6/27/14 - Congratulations to our retiring Sustainability Coordinator/Energy Manager, Blair Horst. After an impactful career as an engineer in the private and public sector, he leaves us in a better place than how he found us. Best wishes, Blair!


ALS Complex Gets New Waste Diversion Program

6/16/14 - In partnership with ALS safety and operations personnel, Sustainable Berkeley Lab brought the new waste diversion program to Buildings 6, 15, 80, and 7. The waste stations around the ALS ring also include special recycling bins for aluminum recycling and copper gaskets. We are very excited to bring this program to another Berkeley Lab User Facility.

Deirdre McShane

Welcome to Deirdre McShane!

6/9/14 - Deirdre McShane, PE, joined the Sustainable Berkeley Lab team as the new energy manager. Deirdre comes from Taylor Engineering where she focused on HVAC design and retro-commissioning. Welcome, Deirdre!

John Elliott

John Elliott Appointed to UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council

6/9/14 - Our own Chief Sustainability Officer, John Elliott, was appointed to the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, which is tasked with leading the UC system to carbon neutrality. In her short tenure, President Janet Napolitano has set ambitious sustainability goals, including climate neutrality by 2025. The council will also offer guidance in other sustainability areas.

More Progress on Berkeley Lab Water Action Plan

6/6/14 - The Berkeley Lab Plumbing Shop continues to help us conserve water. They have replaced bathroom faucet aerators to low-flow, 0.35 gpm aerators in Buildings 2, 6, 7, 31, 46, 47, 50, 50A, 50B ,62, 64, 65, 66, 70, 70A, 80, 88, and 90. This is the first, low-cost action to reduce our water use in response to the severe drought we are currently experiencing. By replacing bathroom faucet aerators, we estimate that we will save about 1.5 million gallons of water per year.


Progress on Berkeley Lab Water Action Plan

5/21/14 - As part of the Berkeley Lab Water Action Plan, the Plumbing Shop is replacing bathroom faucet aerators with .35 gallon per minute aerators. They have completed replacements in the 50 complex and Buildings 70, 70A, and 90. The next replacements will occur in Buildings 62, 64, 66, and 74. Thank you for helping us conserve water, Plumbing Shop!

Introducing Fume Hood Watch

4/25/14 - Fume Hood Watch, an Employee Engagement Initiative program, kicked off during Earth Week. We met with our first group of Eco-Advocates who have committed to looking after at least one fume hood each to ensure that it is closed when people are finished working at it. Our Employee Engagement Initiative relies on Eco-Advocates throughout Berkeley Lab to make everyday actions and operations more sustainable. If you’re interested in participating, please email


Successful e-waste collection for USPS BlueEarth

4/22/14 - In partnership with the USPS and EHS, employees were able to drop off unwanted personal electronics for recycling at a lunchtime event. In total, nearly 100 employees on the main site and three satellite locations recycled 754 pounds of electronic waste. The USPS BlueEarth Program provides a free and convenient method to ship these items to an R2-certified (Responsible Recycler) vendor, making the process simple, secure, and free to employees. Thank you to Patrick Thorson (EHS) for planning and hosting this successful event! And remember, as employees to a Department of Energy site, this program is available to us from home any time, not just Earth Day.


Have you seen the stickers in the bathrooms?

4/22/14 - In honor of Earth Day 2014 and according to Berkeley Lab’s Water Action Plan, the Bathroom Brigade, made up of 15 volunteer employees, visited the 200 bathrooms on the main site to take inventory of the bathroom fixtures and post “See a Leak?” stickers. The inventory will help the Lab understand water usage in bathrooms and plan fixture upgrades. Remember to report leaks to the Work Request Center (x 6274).

Lab Confirms Irrigation Watering Policy

3/31/14 - As part of the Berkeley Lab Water Action Plan, the Lab has confirmed an irrigation water policy: “The Lab does not do ongoing, automated irrigation watering. The Lab may do automated irrigation watering for a period up to 18 months to establish new landscaping, or may do occasional watering by hand to prevent loss of landscaping.” Facilities is working to ensure that current practice aligns with this policy.


Lab is Reducing Water Use

3/27/14 - The Lab is taking several steps to reduce water use in response to the extreme drought and to meet long-term water conservation goals. See the Berkeley Lab Water Action Plan available here and contact Sustainable Berkeley Lab ( with any comments or questions.


Water Conservation Planning

2/18/14 - While the nearly eight inches of rain earlier this month at Berkeley Lab more than quadrupled the season total, cumulative precipitation levels following these storms have only now just inched above the driest years on record in California. Read more here.



Expanding the Waste Diversion Program Image: Attached photo of a waste station

12/1/13 - Following on the success of the waste diversion pilot program at Building 74, Sustainable Berkeley Lab is expanding the waste diversion program in Material Sciences Division and Earth Sciences Division buildings. This includes buildings 2, 62, 66, 67, 84, 70, and 70A. We continue to weigh the waste coming out of these buildings and monitor the dumpsters to understand the impact of the program and determine ways to constantly improve it. Learn more about the program here.

Sustainability Achievements

10/31/13 - It's a new fiscal year, so it's time to reflect on our achievements from FY 2013. Here is a list of our big achievements.

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Lab Adopts New Sustainability Policy

10/15/13 - Berkeley Lab has adopted a new policy that sets sustainability standards for new building construction. The policy was developed by a committee convened last fall by Lab Director Paul Alivisatos, with input from a larger working group. The policy is intended to drive higher performance in buildings by setting clear sustainability targets that can be easily communicated with design teams and carried through into operations. The policy is available here in the Berkeley Lab Requirements and Policies Manual. For more information contact Sustainable Berkeley Lab at


Earth Sciences' Building 74 Earns LEED Platinum Certification

Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division is known for its leadership in the search for new energy resources, cleaning up the environment, and the study of climate change. Now, it has another feather in its cap: LEED Platinum status for the division's newly renovated headquarters. It's the highest possible rating for environmentally friendly design. A plaque conferring Platinum status from the U.S. Green Building Council, which operates the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program, arrived this week at the Lab's Facilities Division, which planned and managed the ambitious overhaul of Building 74 in the East Canyon section of Berkeley Lab's hillside campus. Read the full article here.


Lab's EV Charging Program is Thriving

9/9/13 - As part of Sustainable Berkeley Lab's (SBL) electric vehicle readiness initiative, the Lab began issuing permits in May to allow staff to charge their personal electric vehicles at the main site. The program enables staff to use their EVs even when a round trip exceeds the range of a single charge. This initiative supports electrification of transport, a key component of California planning to meet legislated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions along with other efficiency and renewable energy strategies. Eighteen permits have been issued and new permits have been requested every month. Staff pay for the electricity used while charging. For more information, please visit the EV Readiness page at the Sustainable Berkeley Lab website.


Paper Towel Composting

8/7/13 - As part of Sustainable Berkeley Lab's (SBL) waste minimization initiative, paper towels coming from restrooms on the main site are now going to a local compost facility instead of the landfill. This collaborative effort with Facilities and EHS is an important step toward meeting federally-required targets to divert and reduce landfill waste. We will be monitoring and adjusting the program over the coming months, so feel free to e-mail with feedback. Special thanks to the custodians who make this possible. To learn how to use fewer paper towels, check out this funny and compelling short video.


Paper Towel Composting

7/10/13 - In collaboration with Facilities, EHSS, and our waste hauler, Sustainable Berkeley Lab is working to start collection of paper towels from bathrooms for composting. In preparation, we are posting signs in bathrooms reminding people to throw only paper towels into the large waste bins. Trash and recycling should be put in bins provided elsewhere. With this step, the Lab will begin diverting a substantial portion of waste material from the landfill and will provide an infrastructure to expand composting on the hill campus. We would like to thank the custodial staff for supporting this effort and doing the "heavy lifting" to help the Lab divert waste from the landfill to more productive uses. Feel free to contact about the program.

Congratulations to our Facilities Division!

7/9/13 - The Global Facility Management Association awarded our Facilities Division with the Platinum Award for Excellence in Facilities Management for their method to evaluate cost-effective, sustainability measures. Read more here.


New Waste Diversion Program in Building 74

4/8/13 - Sustainable Berkeley Lab, in partnership with EHSS, Custodial Services, and the Earth Sciences Division, launched a new waste diversion program in Building 74. This pilot program placed new waste diversion stations with bins for compost, paper recycling, all other recycling, and landfill waste (see photo) in common areas. Building occupants can choose the number and types of recycling or landfill bins for their workspaces, and they are encouraged to empty those bins into the waste diversion stations. Custodians empty workspace bins about once per week during the detail day, and measure the waste coming from the building. This pilot program also includes measuring and feedback mechanisms to facilitate open communication and constant improvement. The program is intended to be a model for expansion across the Berkeley Lab main site. Click here for more resources.

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EV Charging

4/4/13 - The Lab has joined DOE's Workplace Charging Challenge, making a pledge to assess electric vehicle charging demand and implement a plan to increase the availability of charging. Efforts begin with a process to allow permitted staff to charge their personal vehicles at approved 120v outlets on the main campus. Please stop by the Electric Vehicle Showcase on Thursday, April 25, at noon outside the cafeteria to learn about the Challenge, sign up for an EV Charging Only permit, or be part of the Lab's EV Readiness initiative. We are working to begin charging in early May. Click here for more resources.


Approaching Zero Waste for Daughters and Sons to Work Day

4/18/13 - During Berkeley Lab's Daughters and Sons to Work Day, the 112 visiting students and 60 volunteers explored ways to reduce waste. The Lab's Center for Science and Engineering Education hosts the annual event and partnered with Sustainable Berkeley Lab to audit all waste from lunch and divert 90% of the waste from landfills. To achieve this goal, CSEE worked with their caterer to provide compostable plates and utensils and recyclable beverage containers and provided the color-coded bins for 2 separate waste stations where people sorted their lunch waste into compost, recycling, and landfill bins. After lunch, the group of students aged 13-16 measured the waste streams, graphed the results, and discussed the issues related to waste diversion. Achieving 90% waste diversion can be relatively easy with thoughtful preparation, good bins and signs, and willing participants. We applaud CSEE for taking on this zero waste goal. More »

Sharing the Strategy

4/19/13 - The Lab's Chief Sustainability Officer, John Elliott, gave an overview of priorities and initiatives for a sustainable Berkeley Lab at an i4Energy seminar on the UC Berkeley campus.  A video of the talk (45 minutes) is available at: