Fermilab seeks ways to help reduce greenhouse gases
|Fermilab is experimenting with sustainable technologies such as this solar panel on site.
The word sustainability seems to be on everyone's lips these days, including at Fermilab.
At a fundamental level, sustainability is what allows something to endure indefinitely throughout time. On a global level, we are learning that creating more and more greenhouse gasses that can radically affect the Earth's climate is potentially unsustainable.
Department of Energy sites have been asked by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to find ways to sharply reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. The request stems from a 2009 executive order that directs the federal government and its contractors to adopt more sustainable practices. DOE requires all sites to prepare site sustainability plans by the end of the year. These plans need to include greenhouse gas mitigation. Greenhouse gases include CO2, methane, some refrigerants and other industrial gasses, such as sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
We are responsible for emissions produced on our site and those produced off site for Fermilab. Off-site emissions include those produced by the generation of electrical energy used at the site and by employees traveling on business and commuting.
In 2009, Fermilab accounted for more than 400,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. More than 75 percent of that came from electricity use. Nearly 50,000 metric tons were produced by more than 16 million air miles of business travel.
DOE understands that making substantial cuts in electricity usage cannot take place without a negative impact on the physics mission. Energy-saving measures must come from other areas such as: changing the way we procure energy, increasing energy and water efficiency, reducing waste and building "smarter" buildings.
If you have ideas for how to save energy at the laboratory, or just would like to know more about the Fermilab Sustainability Plan, contact Rod Walton or Eric Mieland.
-- Rod Walton, Fermilab ecologist