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Earth Day: Leading by Example

April 20, 2012 - 11:40am

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Michael Dunn, Deputy Director of Facilities Management at Argonne National Laboratory, setup a program that encouraged employees to cut their energy use during peak summer months and resulted in more than $475,000 in savings. Here he stands next to an electrical vehicle fueling station that charges cars with solar energy. | Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

Michael Dunn, Deputy Director of Facilities Management at Argonne National Laboratory, setup a program that encouraged employees to cut their energy use during peak summer months and resulted in more than $475,000 in savings. Here he stands next to an electrical vehicle fueling station that charges cars with solar energy. | Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

We’re not just interested in talking the talk at the Energy Department, it’s important to us to walk the walk.

To do that, we’re working every day across the country to make our operations more sustainable and efficient. 

Take these employees, for example:

  • Christopher Evans leads initiatives to identify energy and water-saving opportunities at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and California. Christopher helped the two locations develop innovative projects that achieve annual savings of 260 billion Btus, 40 million gallons of water and $1.7 million in costs.
  • Donell Jenkins at the Savannah River Operations Office, working with David Wolfe and the Savannah River management team, contributed greatly to the launch of SRS’ new Biomass Cogeneration Facility, which replaced an inefficient coal powerhouse and oil-fired boilers. The change is expected to help save about $35 million a year in energy, operation and maintenance costs.
  • Jeanne Beard of Environmental Management develops innovative IT programs to expedite hazardous waste cleanup at nuclear weapons sites. In 2011 alone, her group saved millions of dollars by tracking waste transfers more efficiently and consolidating data centers.
  • Gene Higgins leads the modernization of IT and telecommunications services at the Hanford Site in Washington State. Under his leadership, a massive cleanup effort at the former plutonium production site is now supported by a consolidated, cloud and mobile-enabled IT infrastructure that costs 30 percent less to operate and is more energy efficient.  
  • Michael Dunn, Deputy Director of Facilities Management and Services at Argonne National Laboratory, set up a program that encouraged employees to cut their energy use during peak summer months, resulting in more than $475,000 in savings. Through a series of FY 2010 water recycling projects, his team saved more than 27 million gallons of potable water and $68,000. 
  • Erik Boyer, Michelle, Brooks, Tom Osborn, Kathryn Patton, and Dick Stroh of Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Smart Federal Partnership helped identify and fund energy and water efficiency projects for the Federal Powered Irrigation Districts in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, saving an estimated 16 billion Btus of electrical energy and more than 2 billion gallons of water annually from reduced pumping. 
  • Gene Higgins, from the Richland Operations Office, led a computer network and telecommunications transformation process for the Hanford Site, reducing energy consumption, lowering operational costs and dramatically improving the operational flexibility of the site’s IT systems.
  • Josh Silverman, from the Office of Sustainability Support, has led the Department’s efforts to reduce its emissions of sulfur hexafluoride – a potent greenhouse gas. His efforts, conducted in coordination with the Department of Energy Fugitive Emissions Working Group, have prevented the release of more than 600,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent since 2009.
  • Stephanie Austad, Kimberly Frerichs, Matthew Hammond, Christopher Ischay and Tad Pearson of the Idaho National Laboratory Sustainability Program worked to integrate sustainability concepts into engineering design and facility operations processes, as well as into INL policies and processes. 
These individuals are truly making a difference. 
 
They represent the work we’re doing across the Energy Department to promote sustainability, streamline operations and cut unnecessary spending. All of this is important because going green will save us green and that’s not just good for us – that’s good for the American taxpayer. 
 
If you know of other efficiency success stories happening around the Department, or if you'd like to suggest other efficiency measures, you can share them with us via the feedback page.

 

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