Current Project Profiles
A selection of SBL projects, many involving partnerships across the Lab.
- Integrated Genomics Building Design
- Staff Electric Vehicle Charging Program
- NERSC Efficiency Optimization
- 2016 Building 6 Efficiency & Controls
- 2016 Refrigerator Replacement
- 2016-2017 Restroom Retrofit
- Operational Improvements for Building 77
Energy Information and Management
Better Energy Management Systems
Expanded a campus-wide, on-line energy information system to provide monitoring and management of energy use in key buildings, which account for about 90% of building-related greenhouse gas emissions at the Lab.
Connected Gas Metering
More than doubled the connection of natural gas meters to an on-line energy information system, now allowing easy monitoring and management of about 90% of site-wide natural gas use.
High Performance New Building Design
Designed a new 80,000 square foot genomics laboratory using Berkeley Lab’s Sustainability Standards for New Construction. The standards drive low-cost, high-performance, integrated design. The building is expected to use just 35% of the energy used by the current genomics facility. Construction start: November 2016.
Commissioning and Retrofit Projects
In collaboration with Facilities, completed three energy-saving commissioning and retrofit projects in existing buildings:
- Significant energy savings, upgraded building controls, and improved operations of the Advanced Light Source accelerator facility (Building 6)
- Phase 1 efforts to eliminate wasteful baseload (night and weekend) electricity use in a shop facility (Building 77)
- Upgraded to LEDs and networked building controls to pilot approaches to provide better quality and control of lighting and heating in an office and shop area (Building 78)
Green Building Guiding Principles
With support from DOE’s Sustainability Performance Office, made significant progress toward bringing several existing buildings in line with federal Guiding Principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings (Buildings 74, 76, 78, and 90). The project will complete during the first quarter of FY 2017.
Managing Laboratory Plug Loads
Collaborated with the Joint Genome Institute at Berkeley Lab to develop management strategies for benchtop laboratory equipment and to install energy monitoring to manage a “fleet” of 76 cold storage units. These cold storage units represent the largest plug load at the facility, and the monitoring system will improve reliability and efficiency.
Replaced the least efficient refrigerators (>25%) across the main site, saving more than 50% on refrigerator energy use for these appliances (see project description).
Decarbonizing Energy Supply
In collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, completed installation in February 2016 of a 3.3-MW, 10-acre solar array in Livermore. Berkeley Lab purchases 20% of the array output.
Decreasing Fossil Fuel Use in Fleet
Petroleum use in the Lab’s fleet vehicles is more than 50% lower than in 2005, and on track to further decrease next year. The reduction comes through reducing the size of the fleet and prioritizing use of ethanol (E85) fuel.
The Lab changed policies to encourage carpooling and allocated about 25 new carpool only parking spaces across the Lab’s main site.
More EV Charging Stations
Increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations on-site from 11 to 16.
More People Charging
Increased membership in Berkeley Lab’s staff electric vehicle charging program to 54, an increase of 35% over last fiscal year (see an online plot of EV charging activity at the Lab since the program began in May 2013).
New Manager of Transportation and Parking
Amit Kothari was hired as Senior Manager of Transportation and Parking, responsible for improving commute alternatives to single-occupancy driving.
Improved Commute Survey
The Lab conducted an improved commute survey that provides a more accurate assessment of commute modes and greater insight into barriers and opportunities for increasing alternative commutes. The previous survey was completed in August 2014 (see summary of FY 2016 survey results).
Alternative Transportation Advisory Group
The Lab convened an advisory group representing the entire Laboratory community to identify and provide feedback on steps to improve alternative commute options. The group led development and analysis of the new commute survey and guided improvements in telecommuting, carpooling, bicycling, and optimizing use of existing parking spaces.
Awards & Certifications
New LEED Certifications
Received LEED Gold certification for two laboratory facilities (Chu Hall, Building 30 and General Purpose Lab, Building 33).
Energy Management Award
Received the 2016 Building Innovation Optimizer Award, presented by Lucid, a “connected building” energy software company (see press release).
Sustainable Purchasing Award
The Lab received a Three-Star Award (recognizing top-ten performance in a field of 38 winners) in the 2016 EPEAT Sustainable Purchasing Awards sponsored by the Green Electronics Council (see press release).
Better Diversion Metrics
Sustainable Berkeley Lab, in coordination with the Facilities custodial group and researchers in Berkeley Lab’s Building and Industrial Applications Department, developed and implemented a more accurate process for assessing waste diversion, demonstrating an average diversion rate of 67% in FY 2016 for non-hazardous solid waste.
Improved Hauling Contract
Berkeley Lab re-bid its waste hauling contract with specific attention to better collection of diversion metrics, better demarcation of waste stream in behind-building bins, and better support for increased waste diversion.
Rethink Waste was expanded to include a new offsite location, the Joint Biofuels Energy Institute in Emeryville. In offsite locations, the program is adapted based on local recycling practices and involvement from the landlord.
New Waste Guide
Berkeley Lab created a new poster that provides guidance and resources for reusing, diverting, and safely disposing of more than 20 different waste streams. The poster is available electronically here and is displayed on billboards across the Lab’s main site.
Research to Improve Waste Diversion
Researchers in Berkeley Lab’s Building and Industrial Applications Department partnered with Sustainable Berkeley Lab to identify approaches to increase waste diversion in Building 90 on the main Berkeley Lab site, demonstrating an increase in waste diversion from 66% to 81% over three months as a result of improved feedback, education, and other approaches to enhance institutional change (see Trash Talk and Action in Building 90).
Green Cleaning Policy
Berkeley Lab developed a Green Cleaning Policy to establish the intention of using cleaning supplies that are 100% environmentally preferred (biobased, SaferChoice).
More Sustainable Carpeting
Executed a Lab-wide floor and carpeting contract with Andersen Carpet to improve indoor air quality and eliminate use of harmful polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that requires:
- At least 95% of carpeting materials to meet one of the following:
- Comply with NSF/ANSI 140 Platinum, the highest level of environmental and social sustainability performance certification given by the American National Standards Institute for carpeting
- Comply with Green Label Plus, the Carpet and Rug Institute’s certification for very low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from carpeting, adhesive, and cushions
- Contain no VOCs or polyvinyl PVC
- At least 75% of flooring to meet one of the following:
With support from DOE’s Sustainability Performance Office, conducted urinal replacements across the main site, reducing their water use by over 90% to save about 250,000 gallons annually. A second round of retrofits will be completed in FY 2017.
Designing a new, Low-Energy home for JGI
We have worked closely with the Facilities Division and the Joint Genome Institute to guide the design of the new Integrative Genomics Building using Berkeley Lab’s Sustainability Standards for New Construction. These standards are intended to encourage low-cost, high-performance integrated design and meet federal sustainability requirements.
Monitoring building energy use
We integrated electricity, gas, and water interval data for a set of key buildings that emit approximately 90% of the Lab’s buildings-related greenhouse gas emissions using an off-the-shelf meter-data visualization software package. This is a key infrastructure improvement that provides easy operational access to building performance interval data and will allow us to target and monitor the effectiveness of our energy saving activities. The system integrates data from two building automation systems, the Lab’s primary electricity meter database, and manual meter reads.
50% Gas Savings in Building 15
In partnership with the Facilities Division, the Energy Optimization pilot in Building 15 generated more than 50% savings in natural gas use (see heat map to left). These savings came from turning down heating and cooling schedules during unoccupied hours.
Improving Building Energy Management
We began formalizing and expanding a standard institutional approach for building energy management based on the pilot in Building 15 and ISO 50001, Energy Management System. ISO 50001 will provide procedural rigor to our energy management activities and ensure coordination with the Energy Management Systems (i.e., ISO 14001) process as required by DOE Order 436.1.
Auditing Buildings and Planning Retrofits
Working with a contractor, we completed energy audits of three additional facilities to meet EISA auditing requirements and scope energy management, commissioning, and efficiency retrofit projects that will begin in FY2016. The audit results are documented in an online system for easy access and institutional continuity. We also continue to work closely with the Facilities Division to coordinate energy savings projects with planned infrastructure improvements.
Using Renewable Energy in New Buildings
Two buildings occupied in FY2015 included renewable energy systems. Building 30 (Chu Hall) included solar hot water and a 3-kW photovoltaic system. Building 33 (GPL) included a solar hot water system.
Construction Begins on 10 Acres of Solar through LLNL Partnership
We continued our partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the development of a 3.3-MW, 10-acre solar array. A power purchase agreement was executed with Juwi Solar. Design is completed and construction began in November 2015 at the Livermore site. Berkeley Lab will buy 20% of the array output through the Western Area Power Administration.
EV Charging Program Continues to Expand
The staff electric vehicle (EV) charging program grew to 40 permit-holders. We continue to participate in the DOE Workplace Charging Challenge, which recognized Berkeley Lab for its leadership in providing staff electric vehicle charging. We added one Level 1 charging station available for staff EV charging. We also anticipate adding two new Level 2 charging circuits.
Expansion of Rethink Waste Complete
We finished expanding Rethink Waste, the Lab’s waste diversion program, to the entire main site, including two new buildings that opened the summer of 2015. Waste measurements taken at the original Rethink Waste pilot building around Earth Day show a waste diversion rate of 89%, which we think shows good potential for lasting reduced landfill waste. We continued “behind-building” waste audits to optimize waste diversion and right-size the bins and service provided by our waste hauler.
After seeing styrofoam plates, bowls, and cups in dumpsters in June, a month busy with retirement parties, SBL worked with Procurement to remove all styrofoam serviceware products from eBuy.
We spoke to small groups throughout Berkeley Lab to discuss Rethink Waste and answer sustainability questions. We also hosted a table at JGI’s annual safety fair where we asked JGI employees to fill out a survey about their sustainability interests. We learned that energy conservation, water conservation, and waste diversion are the most common sustainability interests among the survey-takers.
Gardening on Earth Day
SBL and volunteers helped launch a composting and gardening study with the Earth Sciences Division.
Lab water use declines
Berkeley Lab potable water use intensity continues to decrease in accordance with the Berkeley Lab Water Action plan established in spring 2014. We worked with the Facilities Division plumbers to retrofit urinal flushometers to 0.5 gallons per flush where feasible.
Monitoring cooling towers
We expanded installation of cooling tower meter and management at 4 buildings, which account for 90% of our main-site cooling tower water usage and 40% of main-site water usage, by integrating new cooling tower meters to an online system. This allows real-time identification of leaks and can help to optimize cooling tower maintenance in order to save water and water treatment chemicals. Berkeley Lab continues to recycle about 500,000 gallons annually from the Building 70A Fixed Treatment Unit to the Building 70A cooling tower.
Applying the Sustainable Construction Standards
The Lab successfully applied a new policy on Sustainability Standards for New Construction, first adopted in September 2013, in the conceptual design of a new laboratory building at the main site. This policy has successfully incorporated sustainability into the earliest design decisions to enable high performance at low cost.
Energy Management Pilot in Building 15
With the Facilities Division, we developed a standard institutional approach to manage energy in buildings and began to pilot this process in Building 15. We also received approval for consistent, multi-year funding that invests utility bill savings into energy management, commissioning, and efficiency retrofits. To help scope the energy management, commissioning, and efficiency retrofits projects, we worked with a consulting engineering firm to conduct energy audits of four laboratory facilities. We’re also working closely with the Facilities Division to coordinate energy savings projects with planned infrastructure improvements.
Progress on Partnership with LLNL on 10 Acres of Solar
The Lab participated with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the request for proposal and procurement of a 10-acre solar photovoltaic project to be installed at LLNL. Berkeley Lab will buy 20% of the array output through the Western Area Power Administration.
Electric Vehicle Charging Program Expands
The staff electric vehicle charging program grew from 18 to over 30 permit-holders. We continue to participate in the DOE Workplace Charging Challenge and continue expansion of electric vehicle readiness activities as outlined in the Berkeley Lab Workplace Charging Challenge Partner Plan.
75% of Fleet Vehicles are EVs and E85
Berkeley Lab expanded the alternative fuel (E85) portion of the fleet by 36% (27 vehicles) and the electric portion of the fleet by 14% (9 vehicles). E85 and electric vehicles now total 176 vehicles and make up 75% of the fleet. All E85 vehicles fuel up using a pump at the Lab’s main site.
Committee Convened to Recommend Commuting Alternatives
Berkeley Lab conducted a new commuter survey to inform Scope 3 greenhouse gas reporting. The survey achieved a 52% response rate, which is quite high for an email survey. The Laboratory Director convened a committee to recommend integrated transportation and parking solutions, including methods to encourage alternative commute approaches, reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips, and reduce Scope 3 emissions.
Recycling Program Expanded to 80% Coverage
We expanded Rethink Waste, the Lab’s new waste diversion program, from 5% coverage of the main site to approximately 80% coverage AND the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California. Waste measurements indicate that diversion rates have increased approximately 20% in buildings with the new program. We coordinated with the main-site waste hauler to remove excess landfill dumpsters, increase the number and size of compost carts, and improve labeling of dumpsters and carts to help improve waste diversion rates. On Earth Day, we hosted an event for employees to recycle their personal electronics, which we coordinated with the US Postal Service Blue Earth program, the DOE, and the University of California Office of the President. Between 85 to 100 employees dropped off 800 pounds of electronic waste to recycle.
Sustainable Procurement Guidance Developed
The OCFO created a sustainable procurement section to their website and developed a Sustainable Acquisition Guide to encourage sustainable purchasing for end users and buyers. The OCFO also worked closely with appropriate suppliers to remove non-EPEAT items from purchase availability and replace them with products meeting the EPEAT criteria.
“Eco-Advocate” Program for Labs
We initiated an “eco-advocate” program that establishes sustainability liaisons within lab groups to save energy by closing laboratory fume hoods and support increased waste diversion efforts.
Water Use Intensity Declines
Berkeley Lab potable water use intensity decreased 15% from FY2013 to FY2014 and is 27% lower than a FY2007 baseline. Berkeley Lab developed and issued a Berkeley Lab Water Action Plan that identified water conservation activities across seven areas to support water conservation goals and respond to our exceptional drought conditions. With the help of Berkeley Lab staff volunteers on Earth Day, we conducted a bathroom fixture inventory across the main site to refine retrofit plans and place “leak reporting” stickers in all bathrooms. The Berkeley Lab plumbers helped us replace bathroom faucet aerators with low-flow restrictors across the Lab’s main site, which should reduce annual water use by an estimated 1.3 million gallons. We began installation of a cooling tower water metering and management program at four locations that account for 28% of all main site water use. Berkeley Lab continues to recycle about 500,000 gallons annually from the Building 70A Fixed Treatment Unit to the Building 70A cooling tower.
Lab Adopts Sustainable Construction Standards
The Lab adopted a new policy that sets sustainability standards for new building construction. A committee, convened last fall by Lab Director Paul Alivisatos, developed the policy 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 in the Berkeley Lab Requirements and Policies Manual.
LEED Platinum Awarded for Building 74 Renovation
The Lab received a LEED platinum certification, the highest level awarded by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), for the major renovation of Building 74. For the same project, the Lab also shared a 2013 Super Heroes Award with two other UC campuses given by the Northern California Chapter of the USGBC. Special recognition goes to Facilities project director Richard Stanton for the vision and drive to reach platinum! A Berkeley Lab TABL article sharing the accolades for Building 74 is available here.
Partnership Developed with LLNL on 10 Acres of Solar
The Lab partnered with Lawrence Livermore National Lab on soliciting proposals to develop a 10-acre solar photovoltaic project at the LLNL site. Once the project is awarded, Berkeley Lab would purchase a portion of the array output through our federal utility provider on the main site. This is a unique opportunity to “green up” the Lab’s electricity. We will provide further details once the project is awarded.
Staff Electric Vehicle Charging Program Initiated
The Lab began issuing permits in May 2013 to allow staff to charge their personal electric vehicles at the main site. Staff pay for the electricity used while charging, and all charging is currently at 120V. The program enables staff to use their EVs even when a round trip exceeds the range of a single charge. Nineteen permits have been issued. Information about the program is available here.
Partnering with Campus for a Sustainable Richmond Campus
We formed a joint Richmond Bay Sustainability Committee with UC Berkeley. The group has been active at providing input to the Long Range Development Plan and generally advancing sustainability in planning for the new site.
Earth Week Events Highlight Climate, Alternative Transportation, Waste Diversion
In partnership with EHS, OCFO, Facilities, and Carbon Cycle 2.0, we hosted Earth Week where employees attended seminars and showcases about climate change, green procurement, alternative transportation, and waste diversion. You can watch the seminars here.
First Zero Waste Event a Success
We began the year with the Lab’s first site-wide zero waste event. Of the 3,713 pounds of waste generated by the 6,000+ Open House guests and volunteers, 3,649 pounds were sent for composting or recycling. That is a diversion rate of 98%!
Successful Waste Diversion Pilot in Building 74
We completed a very successful waste diversion pilot at Building 74 that will serve as a model for an expanded program across the Lab. Since the program has been in place, we have seen waste diversion rates of 70-75%, and very good sorting at the waste stations. This is nearly a doubling of baseline diversion rates measured at the Lab. Check out a story about the pilot program (and EV charging). More information about waste diversion at the Lab is available here.
Paper Towel Composting Begun Sitewide
We started paper towel composting across the main site. This provides a composting infrastructure that will help us expand our waste diversion program. Remember: Shake! Fold!