The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Sustainability Performance Office recently recognized Los Alamos National Laboratory with multiple awards to recognize the sustainability contributions of individuals and teams to celebrate excellence in energy, water, fleet management and in projects representing exemplary sustainability practices.
The Site Sustainability Program manages, implements and tracks progress toward meeting goals set by Executive Order, and works in conjunction with many disciplines at the Laboratory to meet these goals.
Earlier this year, the Laboratory was awarded the GreenBuy Gold Level for sustainable acquisition, and the GreenBuy Prime award, which is the highest award a DOE site can achieve for excellence in green procurement strategies. In 2018, the Laboratory received more awards than any other site in the DOE Complex.
“It’s great to be able to give thanks for excellence in the Laboratory’s other very important missions,” said Laboratory Deputy Director Rick Kacich.
The award ceremony also celebrated the contributions of former employee Pat Gallagher, who was posthumously recognized for her devotion to sustainability at the Laboratory. Gallagher - a former Group Leader in Environmental Protection and Compliance - was one of the pillars of the DOE sustainability community, but regrettably passed away in 2017 before receiving the recognition for her efforts.
For its innovative approach to sustainability, DOE recognized the Laboratory with a site award for its bio-based lubricant used in metal cutting operations identified as a waste diversion strategy. Laboratory Superintendent of Logistics Thomas Chavez and Shop Foreman Thomas Meredith were recipients of this year’s individual awards.
“We didn’t invent a single thing,” Chavez said at the awards ceremony Wednesday. “We just identified a new technology that worked and we looked at it really carefully.” Thanks to their combined efforts, Los Alamos was able to reduce its use from 55 gallons of oil to just one of bio-based oil in 2017. In addition, metal shavings previously disposed of as waste can now be recycled, a key Laboratory waste diversion strategy.
GreenBuy Gold Award
For the second year in a row, Los Alamos National Laboratory has been recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE) with a GreenBuy Gold Award for achieving excellence in sustainable acquisition for fiscal year 2017. DOE also recognized the Laboratory for having won the award three times; in 2012, 2016 and 2017. The Laboratory is considered a leader in the Complex for achieving excellence in green procurement strategies consistently over several years.
Under the GreenBuy Award Program, DOE sites receive recognition for purchasing programs that obtain sustainable products, save energy, conserve water, and reduce health and environmental impact in “green purchasing” that extends beyond minimum compliance requirements. The Program is based on a Priority Products List, which identifies a set of products with leadership-level sustainability goals that that DOE established to help incentivize sustainable acquisition efforts.
The continued success of the program was the result of joint efforts from Acquisition Services Management (ASM) Division, Small Business Program, and the Environmental Stewardship Group in the Environmental Protection and Compliance (EPC) Division. Since the initiative was created in 2011, the Laboratory has won three (3) gold and one (1) bronze award.
“This recognition for the Laboratory speaks to the importance of EPC’s continued partnerships with ASM in achieving broader and deeper success in Sustainable Acquisition,” said Principal Associate Director for Operations, Craig Leasure.
“The goal is to make it ever easier for people to buy greener products…and it’s working!”
The Laboratory’s P2 efforts reached the leadership goal for 20 products in six different categories in 2017 – besting the previous year’s 12 products in 5 categories, demonstrating significant progress in helping to minimize the environmental impact of the Laboratory’s operations. To win the gold, participating DOE sites must demonstrate green purchases of products in five categories.
“This is great recognition for the Lab, particularly because the standards are higher every year,” Maryrose Montalvo, the Laboratory's Sustainable Acquisition point of contact. “Credit goes largely to Lab Designated Procurement Representatives (DPR), procurement specialists and consumers. Asking the right questions can help reduce the Laboratory’s footprint through environmentally sustainable purchasing activities.”
Purchasers buying everything from adhesives to solar-powered traffic signs to keep the environment in mind when making buying decisions. Sustainable acquisition or “green purchasing,” also involves life cycle analysis; a consideration of:
- How products are made
- The materials in the products
- Where they come from
- How they will be disposed
The GreenBuy Gold Level is the highest green procurement award level a DOE site can achieve. This year, Los Alamos was one of four Laboratories DOE recognized for achieving the GreenBuy Gold over multiple years with a GreenBuy Prime Award.
“The Laboratory, as an established leader in sustainability efforts, will continue to seek opportunities to integrate pollution prevention and waste diversion strategies wherever possible,” Montalvo said.