NREL Pledges to Cut Carbon Footprint, by 75 Percent

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent from 2005 to 2009.

By CP Editorial Staff  

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent from 2005 to 2009.

The new goal is part of NREL's participation in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Leaders program. To achieve the goal, NREL will install two major on-site renewable energy projects:  solar cells on a five acre site will provide approximately 7 percent of the laboratory’s electric needs. A biomass combustion plant fueled by forest thinnings and other waste wood will offset the need for about 75 percent of the natural gas used to heat the laboratory's research buildings. In addition, NREL is planning to make its buildings more energy efficient through a site-wide energy savings performance contract.

The laboratory also will purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset all of its indirect emissions from electricity use and from laboratory operations such as employee commuting and business travel.

NREL already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent per square foot from 2000 to 2005 as one of the seven original Climate Leaders participants.

“By setting a long-term greenhouse gas reduction goal and committing to reducing its carbon footprint, NREL is demonstrating corporate climate change leadership," says Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.

NREL’s participation in Climate Leaders is a key part of the environmental stewardship activities of its sustainable NREL program, which is responsible for leading the planning, development and implementation of the laboratory’s comprehensive suite of sustainability activities. As a national laboratory, NREL actively shares its experiences with other national laboratories, federal and state agencies and interested stakeholders.

 “NREL places tremendous importance on the need to maintain a sustainable environment in our own workplace. We believe that our laboratory should use minimal resources while receiving the maximum value from those resources we do use by balancing environmental, economic, and human impacts,” says Bob Westby, manager of NREL’s Federal Energy Management Program and Sustainable NREL lead.

Climate Leaders is an EPA industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. Partner companies commit to reducing their impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions based on a quality management system, setting aggressive reduction goals, and annually reporting their progress to EPA.

Through program participation, companies create a credible record of their accomplishments and receive EPA recognition as corporate environmental leaders. More on Climate Leaders can be found at http://www.epa.gov/stateply/index.html; more on Sustainable NREL is available at http://www.nrel.gov/sustainable_nrel/.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

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  posted on 2/13/2008   Article Use Policy

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