Sustainable Environmental Stewardship

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DOE is adapting to climate change by applying a risk-based resiliency approach to identify and minimize climate-related vulnerabilities across all DOE policies, programs and activities. DOE is assessing climate change vulnerabilities, using the best available science, to strengthen the agency’s planning, operations, and investment activities and ensure the continuation of its mission.

As with all agencies there are many environmental, energy, transportation and economic considerations affecting the acquisition process at DOE. DOE is committed to achieving excellence in "Green Purchasing" by acquiring products with the most environmental attributes possible. Federal agencies are required to give preference to products that are energy efficient, water efficient, made from biobased or recycled content, are non-toxic or less-toxic than conventional alternatives, and registered with the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). 

DOE’s Pollinator Protection Plan is part of a national strategy to protect pollinators and enhance their habitats.  DOE sites already practice many pollinator-friendly best management practices and have plans to increase their use.

DOE is committed to responsible stewardship of cultural resources on its lands. The Department has many rich and varied cultural resources including archeological and historical sites, Native American burial and sacred sites, and historic buildings. The Department has an obligation to protect these resources for future generations.

DOE uses Environmental Management Systems already in place at DOE facilities as a management framework to determine and achieve sustainability goals and targets. DOE is committed to implement sustainability into all aspects of operations. Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, directs agencies to continue implementation of formal EMS where those systems have proven effective and deploy new EMSs where appropriate. EMSs provide a structure for site‐level cross-cutting and multi‐functional coordination necessary to plan for and achieve the Department's sustainability goals.

The purpose of pollution prevention and waste reduction as stated in the Departments Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan is to “prevent or reduce pollution at the source whenever feasible. Pollutants and wastes that cannot be prevented through source reduction will be diverted from entering the waste stream through environmentally safe and cost-effective reuse or recycling to the greatest extent practicable." The DOE Pollution Prevention, Waste Reduction and Recycling Program supports Executive Order (E.O.) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next DecadeDOE Order 436.1, Department Sustainability; and, the Department’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP). Under this Program, Headquarters assists DOE Field and Program Offices in the implementation of the specific goals identified in both of the Orders.

DOE is committed to using science, technology, and effective management to minimize fugitive emissions throughout the Department. To assist in achieving this goal the Department created the Fugitive Emissions' Working Group. Fugitive emissions refers to the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from pressurized systems.  The Fugitive Emissions Working Group (FEWG) is a network of scientists, engineers, technicians, and environmental professionals representing more than 20 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories, power marketing administrations, program offices, and National Nuclear Security Administration facilities that are working to reduce emissions of high-impact fugitive GHGs such as sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) from DOE operations. SF6 is the most potent GHG, with a global warming potential nearly 24,000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Under the GreenBuy Award Program the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites receive recognition for purchasing programs that obtain sustainable products, save energy, conserve water, and reduce health and environmental impact. The award program recognizes DOE sites for excellence 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. View the list of winners by fiscal year. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) is engaged in activities related to the protection and conservation of migratory birds at its laboratories and facilities nation-wide. These activities are carried out at the Department’s facilities pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Executive Order (EO) 13186, Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds, with support from the DOE Migratory Bird Workgroup. Headquarters provides technical assistance in the resolution of migratory bird issues for the Department.

DOE is committed to responsible environmental stewardship of its electronics, including computers, displays, printers and cell phones. DOE is also committed to the energy efficient management and optimization of all of its data centers. Headquarters provides technical assistance for purchasing sustainable products; enabling power and print management; ensuring environmentally sound reuse and recycling of electronics; and consolidating and optimizing data centers.