Those who took the Waste Quiz during Earth Month (April) scored an average of 80%!
Berkeley Lab’s Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) received the UC’s highest recognition for sustainability in new construction, a Best Practice Award for Overall Sustainable Design.
- The building is on track for LEED Gold, and to use just 36% of the energy of the facility it replaced in Walnut Creek.
- No natural gas is used for space and water heating.
- The Lab’s Sustainability Standards for New Construction policy informed the design, and was updated based on knowledge gained during implementation.
- More about IGB Sustainability >
Everyone plays a role in helping the Lab meet its sustainability goals for Energy / Climate, Waste, and Water, which are set by Federal, State, and UC policy, and reinforced in the Lab’s policy on Sustainable Operations.
What is Your Role?
- Use energy & water wisely – turn off when not in use
- Report leaks and potential energy waste, and submit your improvement ideas
- Sort your waste, and make sure you know where to throw by visiting the Waste Guide
- Purchase energy- and water- efficient products
- Learn more about your role and submitting feedback >
How is the Lab Doing?
- The Lab’s natural gas consumption has gone down 20% since 2015.
- The Lab is getting more energy efficient – with energy use intensity down 21% since 2015.
- This progress is the result of a lot of hard work tuning up buildings, supported by the Lab’s energy and water management policies and practices, aligned with the ISO 50001 international energy management standard.
- See more data >
Yes, you can reduce single-use (disposable) plastic – even now!
Check out the Lab’s Plastic Free July Website! Highlights include:
- Take the Challenge, for Plastic Free July and join a global movement to be part of the solution
- Download this Checklist of easy actions for reducing single-use plastics
- Participate in Events (see below, more to come)
- Visit the Waste Guide and know where to throw
- Learn to BYO* in a COVID World
- When in doubt – ASK if you can use your own items!
- Most stores allow you to return items to your cart at the cashier, then bag in your reusable bags once outside
- In Berkeley you can now bring your own mug / bag if you don’t place it on a surface; keep bags in your cart and bag your own items at the register. (But ask first, as some stores have more stringent practices).
- More Tips >
* BYO = Bring Your Own… coffee mug, water bottle, cutlery, shopping bag (not just for groceries – pharmacy, clothing stores, hardware, take-out, anywhere!)
Sheltering in place has encouraged many of us to spend more time at home with our nourishing yards, gardens, and plants, and composting is a great tool to help us do that!
Anyone can home compost, even in a small apartment. Learn the basics and benefits, and why it’s so important for everyone to compost food waste.
Learn more with these Compost & Gardening Resources
The June 8th webinar will cover —
- How to turn waste into natural fertilizer for your container garden or yard
- The environmental benefits of “closing the loop” at home
- Which option is right for you, and how to get started, from a a small worm bin to a large backyard yard waste pile
- +Add to Calendar
Big advancements in efficient computing are happening as a result of cross-Lab collaboration including SBL, the National Energy Scientific Research Computing Center (NERSC), and the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) and its decades of research and expertise.
The Lab has completed its Annual Sustainability Report for FY 2019. For more details, see —
Key highlights —
- Waste Diversion is at 75%
- Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are 29% below 2008 levels
- Energy Use Intensity has decreased 14% since 2015
- Improvements in Computing Efficiency
- Four Sustainability Awards
- Power off computers, monitors, peripherals, power strips, and any equipment that does not need to be running over the break.
- Shut fume hood sashes.
- Turn off the lights.
- Close doors and windows.
- And empty perishables out of breakroom refrigerators to avoid surprises in January!
On behalf of the Better Buildings Smart Lab Accelerator, the Department of Energy selected Berkeley Lab to receive an “Accelerating Smart Labs” Project Award. The award recognizes the Lab’s innovative approach to improving its building operations through an ongoing commissioning (OCx) process.
A partnership between SBL and Facilities, the Lab’s high-performing OCx team has refined a highly efficient and rigorous process for identifying and correcting energy and water waste in buildings, and ensuring those corrections stick.
The award was presented at the annual International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) Conference in October.
See the Lab’s efficiency savings since 2015.
November 15th is America Recycles Day.
- Get inspired, and discover new facts and ways to recycle at the above website
- See the Lab’s progress toward 90% waste diversion by 2020
- Check out how YOUR building is doing
- Learn Your Role in contributing to the Lab’s sustainability targets
- Check out the Waste Guide to learn which bin to use for what item.
- Remember the 3 Rs — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Recycling is important, but reducing what you have to throw in any bin is best!
The draft Sustainable Standards for Operations policy, to be published in the Lab’s Requirements & Policies Manual (RPM), was shared with a wide Lab audience through emails, stakeholder meetings, Elements, and the SBL website. See the resulting changes in the following documents —
- A summary of the comments received and resulting changes made
- A tracked-changes version of the policy with major changes indicated
- The current version of the policy
We appreciate the time everyone took to participate in the process and provide thoughtful feedback, which helped strengthen and improve the policy. See prior post for more about the Policy
The Lab was chosen for two 2019 Department of Energy Sustainability Awards
1) Pat Thorson, who retired from the Lab earlier this year, received a Lifetime Achievement Award as a Sustainable Champion. Pat’s hard work, commitment, and dedication to sustainability spanned his 28-year Lab career. He led the Lab’s Environmental Management System and meteorological monitoring, initiated the Lab’s waste diversion program, and was instrumental in a wide range of sustainability initiatives including air quality, wastewater treatment, electronics recycling, and commute surveys. He led by example in many ways, including being one of the Lab’s first e-bike commuters.
2) The Lab’s Policy on Sustainability Standards for New Construction was selected for the Outstanding Sustainability Project category. Learn more
The awards were presented at the DOE Energy Exchange Conference in August.
Energy and Water
- Commitment to Energy and Water Management
- Lighting Standards – LEDs & Controls
- No Ongoing, Automated Landscape Irrigation
- Water-Conserving Restroom Fixtures
- No Single-Pass Cooling
Zero Waste and Waste Reduction
- Employee Responsibility for Waste
- A Goal of Zero-Waste Events
- Standards for Food Services, Food Waste, Serviceware, and Waste Hauling
Green Cleaning & Pest Control
Join SBL on Tues, July 30th at 12pm in Pers Hall (54-130) to discuss:
- Are recyclables getting recycled or ending up in the ocean?
- How is SBL making plastic reduction easier and how can you participate?
- Tips for keeping veggies crisp without plastic bags; remembering to bring your own cup
- How you can try reusable takeout containers at the Cafeteria
- Share your experience with Plastic Free July by attending, adding thoughts to the virtual whiteboard!
- Partial Session Recording
While finding energy waste in buildings is easy, the challenge lies in understanding and correcting underlying problems, and ensuring they stay corrected. In July, the Lab received a Best Practice Award at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference for its pioneering approach to improving how buildings operate. The Lab’s ongoing building commissioning team uses SkySpark, a sophisticated data visualization tool, as part of their innovative and highly effective process to continually identify, measure, prioritize, and address building problems, as well as monitor and maintain corrections and energy savings.
Pictured: Deirdre Carter, Chris Weyandt, Raphael Vitti (kW Engineering), John Elliott
SBL encourages you to join millions of people and take the Plastic Free July Challenge to reduce single-use plastic waste.
Ways to Participate (also on SBL calendar):
- Get an overview of the global plastic crisis – Mon 7/1 at 7pm at the Hillside Club in Berkeley
- Stop by the Cafeteria to chat with SBL about plastics, sign up to take the Challenge, and learn why the Cafeteria is switching from bioplastic — that goes to landfill — to fiber based takeout ware and cutlery (12-1:30 on Tues 7/2, Weds 7/10, Tues 7/16, and Tues 7/23)
- Share your Challenge experience on Tues 7/30 at noon in the B50 Auditorium — bring your recycling questions and learn why reducing is more important than recycling
About the Plastic Free July Challenge
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. Visit Plastic Free July for resources and ideas for reducing single-use plastic waste in July and everyday, and Choose Your Challenge:
- Avoid takeaway items (bags, bottles, straws, and beverage cups)
- Avoid products in single-use plastic packaging
- Avoid all single-use plastics
The Lab has ambitious goals to —
- divert 90% of our waste from landfill by 2020
- cut the overall waste (generated per person in 2016) in half by 2030.
To help meet these goals, SBL has been collecting waste data since 2016 to identify opportunities for improvement. Over 100 audits have been conducted, an average three for each main building.
View the Waste Audit Data to see where your building ranks (select building from the drop down menu on the upper right hand side of the page).
The Lab has updated its Sustainability Standards for New Construction (SSNC). The SSNC were first published in the Lab’s online Requirements & Procedures Manual (RPM) in 2013. The standards have guided the sustainable design of the Lab’s new Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) and current early design efforts for future construction.
Key elements of the SSNC include:
- Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Decarbonization, and Renewables
- Waste Minimization & Water Conservation
- LEED Green Building Certification, Performance Measurement, and Reporting
Check out what you might have missed from the Lab’s April Earth Month celebration…
Sustainability @ Home Brown Bag
Experts from the Energy Technologies Area and Sustainable Berkeley Lab shared their knowledge about responsible consumption, a culture of repair, very local food, and reducing energy and water footprint.
Presentation | Recording (Quicktime)
Green Transportation Brown Bag
A presentation on what the Lab has done to improve transportation, and a discussion of thoughts, ideas, and concerns about transportation solutions.
Safety Sustainability, and Security Fair
A huge number of people visited the SBL booth at the Fair, and learned about helping the Lab meet its Zero Waste Goals by knowing how to sort. Learn more at WasteGuide.lbl.gov.
A gathering of folks who commute via eBike, and those interested. Learn more about eBikes
This April, the Earth Month Theme is Sustainable Lifestyles. You have many ways to participate!
- Download the Earth Month Flyer, post it in your area, and help spread the word.
- Check out the Lab events listed in the calendar below, click on an event title to learn more and add to your calendar.
- Participate in the DOE Earth Month Haiku & Photo Contest by Friday, April 5th.
- Join an Earth Month Cleanup near you.
Nearly half the employees at JGI gave up their under-desk trash cans in March, in support of better separation of waste at centralized stations, and the Lab’s Zero Waste goals. Over 100 bins were collected and will be recycled.
All Lab buildings have central waste stations. Learn how you can contribute by properly diverting your waste — visit the Waste Guide.
Want to take the next step and get rid of your under-desk trash can?
Bring your own mug or cup to the Peet’s stand at the cafeteria, and save 25 cents on your drink. Learn more about other ways to contribute to sustainability.
- Visit the Lab’s WasteGuide (wasteguide.lbl.gov) to learn how to contribute to the goal
- Also check out this video on keeping the waste stream clean, and learn how to make your diversion efforts count
San Franciso is diverting more than 80% of its waste. A number of other cities across the world are too, including a small Japanese city who consulted a Berkeley local to help. Read the New York Times Article.
UC / Lab employees are eligible for incentives on Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids.
- $10,000 off BMW i3 EV, as well as incentives for other BMW and Mini EVs
- $3,500 off Nissan LEAF EV
- $500 off Honda Clarity Plug-in
The Lab has completed its Annual Sustainability Report for FY 2018, and plans for FY 2019. One significant achievement is maintained, annualized energy savings totaling 6.7 million kWh since 2015. See graph.
Additional highlights —
- Greenhouse gas emissions are 15% below 2015 levels | Goal: 30% reduction by 2025
- Waste diversion is at 76% | Goal: 90% by 2020
- Water use intensity is 23% below 2007 levels | Goal: 36% by 2025
For more details, see —
Working in collaboration with SBL, Facilities upgraded lighting in the two garages under Building 50, resulting in:
1) Better, brighter, and more well-distributed lighting
The existing lighting was recessed in low ceilings, and even at 200 watts, the high-pressure sodium fixtures gave off a dim, uneven, and unsettling orange glow. The new LED lighting has significantly improved atmosphere and visibility in the garages.
2) Energy reduction of 95% (54,700 -> 2,500 kWh/year)
The new lights are 33-watt LEDs with motion sensors, and were installed just below ceiling level, providing better lighting while meeting clearance requirements. The fixtures were adjusted to an appropriate light level, per industry best practice, further conserving energy. Finally, each fixture dims even further until it senses motion nearby, providing additional savings.
LED bulbs can save you money too, especially if you’re swapping out incandescents. LEDs last much longer, use far less energy, produce high-quality light, and are available in a full range of colors, shapes, and styles. As a Berkeley Lab / UC employee or alum, you can get a discount on high-quality LEDs. See article below for more information.
B50 Garages Before & After
Wasting food hurts your wallet. It also hurts the environment, from the wasted energy, water, and other resources required to produce it, and increased greenhouse gas emissions when it reaches the landfill. Composting is important, but avoiding wasted food is even better. Save money and avoid food waste this Thanksgiving, and year round.
- Learn tips for properly estimating meal size, making use of the freezer, and understanding dates labels in this Zero-Waste article
- See Zero Waste Resources for the City of Berkeley
Part of the Million Lamp Challenge, UC employees, retirees, students, and alumni can now save big on purchasing high-quality LED lights for the home. Please see the details for more.
Learn about Food Waste in The Compost Story Video
April is Earth Month – What’s Happening?
- Learn environmental tips from a panel of Lab researchers (+Add)
- Hear about the fascinating natural history of the Lab (+Add)
- See WASTED! and get inspired by delicious ways to tackle food waste (+Add)
- Experience the Safety, Security, & Sustainability Fair (+Add)
- Discover a great way to commute at the eBike Meetup (+Add)
Participate in the DOE Earth Month Photo Contest by 4/6 More >
Packaging, including for takeout food, is a huge part of the waste stream! Check out the UC Climate Lab video to learn about reducing packaging and take-out trash.
Check out the Lab’s Site Sustainability Plan (SSP), which details the Lab’s sustainability performance in FY17, as well as plans for FY18.
- Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and natural gas are 27% below 2008 levels (see chart).
- Total greenhouse gas emissions are 33% below 2008 levels (see chart).
- Energy use intensity is 7% below 2015 levels.
- Waste diversion is at 73% (see chart).
- Water use intensity is 6% below 2007 levels (see chart), but this performance – due to a temporary operational problem – is expected to return closer to last year’s performance of 34% below baseline.
With help from Sustainable Berkeley Lab and a sophisticated monitoring system, JGI is saving significant energy while providing a more reliable freezer storage system for research samples. Their efforts were recognized in the North American Freezer Challenge. Learn more
While supplies last, UC employees are eligible for a steep discount on a Nissan Leaf through December, and a small discount on Ford electric vehicles through October. For more information on employee offers for electric vehicles and renewable energy, view this list.
Check out the Lab’s Sustainability Update to UC on this year’s accomplishments in Climate, Waste, and Water including:
- Dedicated team for energy management
- Big water and energy savings in high-performance computing
- More EV charging capacity
- Improvements in waste metrics
- Efficient restroom fixtures
UC employees are still eligible for a steep discount on a Nissan Leaf, and a small discount on Ford EVs.
PG&E is still offering a $500 Rebate for a wide range of EV/Clean Fuel Vehicle owners.
Check out what you might have missed from the Lab’s April Earth Month celebration, including
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.
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 (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.
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.
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 >
SBL’s 2016 Refrigerator Replacement Project has verified that its new refrigerators use 70% less energy on average.
- 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
Your refrigerator is one of the biggest energy-using appliances. Save money and energy by upgrading your old refrigerator — see the Refrigerator Purchasing Guide.
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:
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!
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 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:
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 [email protected].
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.
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.
Check out photos, videos, and other resources from the Lab’s April Earth Month celebration:
- Water Security in a Changing Climate talk by Prof Roger Bales — View the video, abstract, and speaker bio
- PG&E Panel on Energy Efficiency — View the video, slides, and speaker bios
- Safety, Security, & Sustainability Fair — More about the Fair
- Photos of Earth Month Activities
- Lab Environmental Walk — Download the map
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 was a busy year for us. Check out a list of our achievements. We’re looking forward to a great Fiscal Year 2016!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 [email protected].
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!
We love this video! Thank you, Ben & Jerry’s.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 [email protected] if you’re interested.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fiscal Year 2014 was a busy year for Sustainable Berkeley Lab. Check out what we have been up to in this round-up.
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!
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
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 [email protected].