Sandia LabNews

On-site sustainability efforts reduce energy usage

Image of Sandia's Energy Management team poses in front of a building
SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPIONS — The Energy Management team works to decarbonize and ensure the resilience of Sandia’s operations. (Photo by Michael Flores)

It takes a lot of energy to run a large, multimission national laboratory like Sandia. In fiscal year 2022, Sandia’s Albuquerque and Livermore campuses used the same amount of electricity as approximately 30,000 American households. During that period, Sandia’s natural gas usage produced as much greenhouse gas emissions as 4,255 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.

As part of Sandia’s commitment to operate our facilities in a safe and sustainable way, the Energy Management team is collaborating with other departments to raise awareness about best practices and implement energy and water conservation measures. Several recent efforts demonstrate Sandia’s leadership in environmental stewardship in the face of climate change.

Energy-saving efforts at the Labs

Net-zero studies at the Albuquerque and Livermore sites will be used to develop plans for zero-emissions campuses that are both sustainable and resilient.

The Energy Management team has developed a monitoring-based commissioning program to maintain and continuously improve building performance. In fiscal year 2022, this program helped Sandia avoid releasing the equivalent of 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by fixing operational issues that impact energy usage.

A team of facilities’ controls and mechanical engineers are currently working to lower supply temperatures in on-site boiler heating systems by at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to improving system efficiency, these experiments show promising results for future use of carbon pollution-free heat sources, such as heat recovery chillers, as replacements, while still maintaining thermal comfort levels across different buildings at Sandia.

Sandia is implementing the DOE 50001 Ready program, which provides standards and step-by-step guidance for implementing energy improvements. This program will help advance collaboration across Sandia to promote best energy practices and increase energy efficiency.

Beginning with Building 897, the Smart Labs pilot program will enable safe and efficient world-class science to occur in laboratories using high-efficiency exhaust systems.

Through these and other efforts, Sandia is committed to meeting and exceeding federal sustainability guidelines by achieving net-zero emissions at the Livermore site by 2040 and the Albuquerque site by 2045.

Learn more about Sandia’s efforts to model sustainability and advance climate security.

Recent articles by João Oliveira and Diana Hackenburg