Green efforts grow at Fermilab
New bins for metal cans and plastic bottles have been added near some elevators in Wilson Hall. The entire building should have the new bins by the end of the year.
At Fermilab, despite what Kermit the Frog says, it is easy being green.
In fact, the laboratory gets greener every year.
Last week, employees celebrated international recognition of Fermilab's environmentally friendly practices after earning ISO 14001 certification.
Even before this certification, the laboratory was recycling and reducing its environmental impact in big ways. Some of these green solutions have saved the laboratory millions of dollars.
Fermilab is a member of TEAM, an initiative to make DOE a government leader in green power and energy efficiency.
"I used to think 'green' referred to saving trees, but it can also mean saving money," said Steve Krstulovich of the Facilities Engineering Services Section.
Krstulovich said that energy improvements made after the laboratory's last energy efficiency audit in 2000 have saved Fermilab about $2.5 million a year since 2002. A new audit is scheduled for late November.
Fermilab's recent improvements include expanding recycling, removing ozone-depleting and global-warming refrigerant applications and replacing lighting with new higher-efficiency light sources. The laboratory currently gets about 3 percent of its power from wind, solar, biomass, ocean and geothermal power sources.
Fermilab's Transportation Division has 80 ethanol-85 vehicles and 36 vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. In addition, the Transportation Division uses recycled motor oil and antifreeze in its fleet. The laboratory has been using alternative fuel vehicles since the 1990s.
The laboratory will phase out its CNG vehicles, but replace them with more E-85 vehicles, said George Davidson of the Business Service Section. Government regulations require that 75 percent of purchased vehicles must run on alternative fuels.
More improvements are on the horizon.
Next month, the lab will change nearly all of its cleaning chemicals to those containing 100 percent biodegradable chemicals and lacking phosphates, volatile organic compounds or carcinogens.
The recycling program also is expanding to the Technical Division with additional bins for glass and plastic. New bins are currently being placed in the Industrial Complex. The rest of the division buildings will receive the new bins by the end of the year.
What you can do:
Saving the environment and millions of dollars may seem like a big job, but you can lend a hand. Small actions make a big difference.
- Recycle. Before you throw away anything, stop and think what doesn't need to go in a landfill. Find the nearest receptacle for your mixed paper, bottles, cans, and cardboard and make a habit of recycling.
- Recharge. Switch to rechargeable batteries for as many electronic devices as possible.
- Go paperless. Try to cut down on paper waste by printing less. If you have to print, use recycled paper or print double-sided.
- Do it in the dark. Turn off lights and make sure your computer is asleep when you leave the office. Use fewer lights or put compact fluorescent bulbs in lamps.
-- Haley Bridger