NNSA celebrates the 51st anniversary of Earth Day across the Nuclear Security Enterprise
Last year was a big one. The United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. But the follow-up to any notable event is just as significant. That’s why this year, NNSA celebrated the 51st anniversary of Earth Day by honoring sustainability accomplishments from our sites across the country and highlighting achievements right here at “home.”
NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations has a small but dedicated team that works tirelessly to employ groundbreaking energy efficiency programs at NNSA sites, saving taxpayers millions of dollars while reducing energy use across the Enterprise. Did you know, for example, that over the past decade, NNSA’s sustainability efforts have:
- Saved enough energy to power 10,000 homes for a year;
- Saved more than 530,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent – that’s like taking 115,000 cars off the road for a year;
- Saved more than 630 million gallons of water – enough to fill 1,000 Olympic sized pools; and
- Built or transformed 78 green buildings.
“At NNSA, we are committed to being good stewards of the environment, at each of our facilities, and in the surrounding communities,” said Jim McConnell, Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations. “We leverage our investments across the Nuclear Security Enterprise, using innovative technology and groundbreaking efforts to advance sustainability and energy efficiency and address the impacts of a changing climate.”
Across NNSA’s eight sites, extraordinary efforts are being carried out every day to protect our Nation while simultaneously achieving greater efficiencies and cost savings and providing better protections for the environment.
For instance, at Los Alamos National Laboratory, new solar concentrators were developed that can turn windows into power generation units. This innovation has the potential to help big cities – where space for rooftop solar panels is scarce – generate solar electricity. At the same time, the Y-12 National Security Complex and Pantex Plant won awards like the GreenBuy Award for their procurement of sustainable products.
At NNSA, we are committed to being good stewards of the environment, at each of our facilities, and in the surrounding communities
The Kansas City National Security Campus achieved LEED Gold Certification for smart designs in its facilities that save energy and water, even as the Savannah River Site has built a massive underground wall made entirely of recycled iron filings to neutralize Cold War era chemical solvents. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is publishing groundbreaking research and advising on how to remove carbon dioxide from the air. And at the Nevada National Security Site, 100 percent of its used electronic equipment was diverted from landfills – either sold for reuse for their original intended use or recycled by recycling services.
However, there is still much work to do when it comes to being sustainable and addressing climate change. This work takes all of us as individuals and as an organization. That’s why NNSA remains committed to our tireless work of protecting our Nation, even as each day we strive toward a future of even better Earth Days.