Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Sustainable practices support Laboratory growth

Sustainability enhances performance and protects the future.
April 26, 2018
an infographic of how much energy is used per employee

Simple swaps such as light bulb upgrades can reduce a building’s energy use by a significant amount. LED lighting is much more efficient than other bulb types because LED bulbs last longer and waste little energy as heat.

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Diversifying the energy portfolio is key to supporting the Lab’s mission in a sustainable way.- Monica Witt

Sustainable practices support Laboratory growth

The five-person team manages, implements, and tracks goals set by presidential executive orders and DOE policies. Such objectives include improving operations to maximize sustainable resource use, developing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, improving existing facility performance, and planning for climate resiliency (the ability to adapt and respond to the region’s changing climate, including fires and droughts), and net-zero consumption and net-zero waste in facilities.

“Diversifying the energy portfolio is key to supporting the Lab’s mission in a sustainable way,” says Monica Witt, the Laboratory’s Site Sustainability Manager. “Diversification positions the Laboratory to enhance its current capabilities, readiness, and performance and support operations to better prepare our nation for the future.”

In 2016, sustainable, Lab-wide improvements included upgrading a number of building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; monitoring energy consumption in real time via a cloud network; and installing efficient LED lights. In addition, 23 million gallons of reclaimed wastewater were reused in computer cooling towers. Despite the continuous growth of the Laboratory, energy and water use per employee is trending down, with plans to maintain steady reduction in coming years.

However, as the Laboratory continues to grow, its demand for energy and water cannot be met without major infrastructure and utility investments. Sustainability workers are rising to meet this challenge through several major projects, such as replacing a central heating and power generating plant with a more efficient facility and installing a 10-megawatt solar panel array that will support increasing power needs. 

 Originally published in the 2017 Annual Site Environmental Report Summary.