ORNL receives GreenGov Presidential Award

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Central Campus

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s central campus is pictured above. (Courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory received one of eight GreenGov Presidential Awards announced Tuesday.

The lab won in the Good Neighbor category for a project titled “ORNL Good, Green, Sustainable Neighbor,” a press release said.

The fourth annual awards were announced by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. They honor federal civilian and military personnel as well as agency teams, facilities, and programs that have taken innovative steps to reduce energy use and carbon pollution, curb waste, and save taxpayer money in federal agency operations, the release said.

At a White House ceremony in Washington, D.C., senior administration officials recognized the eight award winners for exemplifying President Barack Obama’s charge to “lead by example and demonstrating extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of the president’s 2009 executive order on federal leadership in environmental, energy, and economic performance,” the release said.

“At the president’s direction, the federal government is moving aggressively to improve its efficiency, reduce energy use and pollution, and promote clean energy,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “The winners of the GreenGov Presidential Awards demonstrate how federal agencies and employees are leading by example when it comes to advancing our energy security, reducing carbon pollution, preparing for the impacts of climate change, and building stronger and healthier communities.”

The release said ORNL, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory and a leader in clean energy research, has spearheaded two recent initiatives. First, ORNL is working with the Indian River State College in Florida to create a sustainable campus, including hosting workshops that feature achievable sustainability plans and goals specific to the college. Second, ORNL is partnering with the Electric Vehicle charging project in Tennessee to install 125 electric vehicle charging stations and encourage the development of an EV charging corridor across the state.

Obama’s Executive Order 13514 requires federal agencies to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, among other targets. So far, the press release said, the Obama administration has met that challenge by:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas pollution from federal agency building energy use, fleets, and other direct sources by 15 percent—the equivalent of permanently removing 1.5 million cars from the road;
  • Increasing the federal government’s use of renewable energy to 7 percent, and setting a new goal of 20 percent renewable energy consumption by 2020, including a commitment from the Army, Navy, and Air Force to deploy a combined 3 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020;
  • Doubling the number of hybrid cars and truck in the federal fleet, saving an estimated seven million gallons of gasoline and improving the fuel efficiency of the fleet overall; and
  • Committing $2 billion to upgrade the energy efficiency of federal buildings by using energy savings performance contracts at no up-front cost to taxpayers.

CEQ solicited nominations for the 2013 GreenGov Presidential awards from the federal community earlier this year. A panel of judges that included federal and national sustainability leaders reviewed the nominations and recommended the award finalists to the president. Here are the other GreenGov Award recipients and projects:

Award Category: Sustainability Hero

  • Individual Name: Jeanette Fiess
  • Agency: Department of Defense—U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Under Fiess’s leadership, the USACE Northwest Division has increased the number of employees with training in high-performance building standards by 70 percent. In 2012, Fiess led the nationwide USACE effort to update the USACE Unified Facilities Guide specifications, which lacked critical sustainability requirements. USACE Headquarters has recommended that training developed by Fiess be included as part of their national training platform in future years.

Award Category: Green Innovation

  • Project Name: 2012 CDC Freezer Challenge
  • Agency: Department of Health and Human Services—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC Freezer Initiative Workgroup held a two-month Freezer Challenge competition in which professionals across the agency deployed innovative strategies to improve storage practices and reduce energy use in energy intensive laboratory freezers. The results of the challenge will save more than $127,000 per year in operating costs and will reduce energy use by more than 320,000 kilowatt-hours annually, the equivalent of the yearly energy consumption of 36 family homes.

Award Category: Lean, Clean, and Green

  • Project Name: Alaska Marine Research Institute Goes Green
  • Agency: Department of Commerce—National Marine Fisheries Service

Scientists and engineers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ted Stevens Research Institute in Juneau, Alaska, are using seawater as a heat source to replace oil-fueled heat pumps and eliminate all carbon emissions. The staff developed a system to extract heat from seawater already being pumped through the lab to support research activities. The seawater heat pump is the latest of three projects the facility has spearheaded in order to reach zero carbon emissions.

Award Category: Good Neighbor

  • Project Name: ORNL Good, Green, Sustainable Neighbor
  • Agency: Department of Energy (DOE)—Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a leader in clean energy research, has spearheaded two recent initiatives. First, ORNL is working with the Indian River State College in Florida to create a sustainable campus, including hosting workshops that feature achievable sustainability plans and goals specific to the college. Second, ORNL is partnering with the Electric Vehicle (EV) charging project in Tennessee to install 125 electric vehicle charging stations and encourage the development of an EV charging corridor across the state.

Award Category: Green Dream Team

  • Project Name: San Dimas Technology and Development Center Net Zero Energy/California Renewable Energy Small Tariff Excess Agreement Producer Facility
  • Agency: Department of Agriculture (USDA)—United States Forest Service (USFS)

USFS and San Dimas Technology and Development Center, along with the Department of Energy, General Services Administration, and California state energy companies, have created the first-ever USDA-USFS net zero energy facility. Retrofitting the facility and replacing inefficient energy sources will save an estimated $100,000 per year in energy costs. The net zero energy effort was completed with the installation of a 302-kilowatt photovoltaic system that is interconnected with the California electric grid.

Award Category: Building the Future

  • Project Name: A Leader in Sustainable Practices
  • Agency: Department of Defense—United States Marine Corps

The Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has reduced its energy intensity by 22 percent and has transformed 30 percent of the base’s electrical consumption to renewable energy as a result of recent sustainability projects. These projects include completing three new LEED Platinum certified buildings, installing 1.7 megawatts of photovoltaic renewable energy generation as well as a biofuel gas pump and electric vehicle charging stations, equipping all buildings with smart electric, gas, and water meters, and hosting the first black water treatment system in the Department of Defense. These projects are estimated to save $500,000 in energy costs annually.

Award Category: Climate Champion (Two Awardees)

  • Project Name: Preparing for a Changing World
  • Agency: General Services Administration (GSA)

The GSA Climate Change Adaptation Team hosted a series of climate preparedness workshops for federal stakeholders to review impacts of potential climate scenarios on existing mission-related infrastructure. The sessions advanced organizational readiness and ensured that climate risk to federal agency missions are properly considered in all aspects of operational management. As a result, several federal agencies are working with local communities to ensure effective mitigation and preparedness strategies are developed and implemented.

  • Project Name: Sea Level Rise Tool for Sandy Recovery
  • Agencies: Department of Commerce, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Global Change Research Program

A team of federal agencies partnered together to create an interactive seal level rise mapping and calculator tool that helps city planners identify and prepare for future flood risks. This team released the tool less than a year after Hurricane Sandy, allowing state and local planners to make better informed decisions that consider the risk in location and design of redevelopment projects. The tool uses the most up-to-date scientific information by providing assessments of future risks beyond current conditions.

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