Sandia LabNews

Sandia wins three 2011 EStar Awards


Sandia has won three 2011 Environmental Sustainability (EStar) awards from DOE for notable accomplishments in pollution prevention and sustainable environmental stewardship. The Sandia initiatives honored with EStar awards are:

  • Integrated Sustainability Planning and Design
  • High-Performance Computing Water Reduction and Energy-Efficient Cooling
  • Water Consumption Reduction

“You can be justifiably proud of this accomplishment. Only 15 EStar awards and three EStar honorable mentions were granted from 186 nominations,” wrote Beverly Whitehead of DOE’s Office of Sustainability Support in a congratulatory email to Sandia about the awards.

As EStar award winners, the Sandia sustainability programs will be submitted for consideration for the prestigious White House Closing the Circle award.

More about the winners

Sandia’s Integrated Sustainable Planning and Design initiative aims to advance high-performance sustainable building (HPSB) guiding principles and associated building-related energy and water reductions. Based on data from comprehensive building audits, Sandia staff are implementing a variety of cost-effective initiatives to meet sustainability goals. The initiative aims to meet the guiding principles in 15 percent of Sandia buildings by 2015; prioritize the top 75 percent of energy-consuming buildings for auditing over four years; and prioritize and fund energy- and water-saving opportunities.

 Notable accomplishments in the HPSB arena to date include:

  • Certification of six LEED® (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) buildings for new construction and one certification for existing building operation and maintenance
  • LEED gold certification for the Ion Beam Laboratory

Major strides in energy conservation include:

  • Implementation of large-scale “free cooling,” using evaporative cooling from a cooling tower when conditions permit
  • Completion of the Heating Systems Modernization project, which replaced the Bldg. 605 steam plant with more than 100 energy-efficient hot water boilers
  • Installation of a sophisticated lighting-control system
  • Retrofits and replacements of chillers
  • Deployment of Nightwatchman, a site-wide computer power-management system that has the potential of reducing desktop computer energy use by more than 93 percent

Point of contact for this award is Chris Evans, Facilities Management and Operations Center (FMOC) Dept. 4853 Resource Conservation lead.

* * *

The Water Consumption Reduction award highlights Sandia’s continuing success in water conservation, including, notably, a 30 percent reduction in use since 2007, with the biggest savings coming from the biggest users, cooling and ultra-pure water. Based on these results, three successful systems have been installed: a high-efficiency reverse osmosis (HERO) system; a deionized water recycling system; and a system that reclaims water for cooling towers.

Additional water-conservation projects include deployment of the “Green Machine” for nonchemical water treatment; computer-controlled irrigation; flow meters on irrigation lines; meters on the Dolphin water-treatment unit; cisterns and rainwater harvesting; retrofits of restroom fixtures; and more.

Point of contact for this award is Dept. 4821 Manager Israel Martinez.

* * *

The High-Performance Computing Water Reduction and Energy-Efficient Cooling award represents the successful collaboration between the Facilities Management Operations Center and a line organization.

Center 9300 built the Red Sky supercomputer in response to the nation’s critical need for high-performance computing (HPC). Beyond raw horsepower, a goal was set for Red Sky to maximize its eco-efficiency by using cutting-edge technological innovations. The system uses a newly designed power-distributing system that significantly reduces power leakage and a unique cooling system that is more than 95 percent efficient in cooling the system’s numerous computer racks.

The Red Sky project was a unique collaboration between the Computer System Design and Implementation team and the Corporate Computing Facilities Infrastructure team, the latter being instrumental in the vendor-selection process and teaming with Oracle/Sun. Project results have set a precedent for other HPC efforts by achieving notable results:

  • Marks the first HPC procurement specification to require energy efficiency
  • Realizes more processing capability per space used
  • Demands 40 percent less water use, resulting in 5 million gallons saved annually
  • Represents a10-fold increase in cooling efficiency
  • Uses the first-ever, rack-mounted refrigerant-based passive cooling system, removing 90 percent of heat load
  • Occupies a carbon footprint 25 percent smaller than its predecessor system

Point of contact for the award is Facilities technologist David Martinez (9324).

* * *

The EStar award ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Federal Energy and Water Management awards ceremony on October 12 at the Forrestal Main Auditorium with a reception at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C