EMS Environmental Excellence Awards

By Stephanie Holinka

Photography By Randy Montoya

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Zero Waste, better cooling and analytics recognized for improving Labs performance

EMS excellence awards logo

This April 22 marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Though Sandians were unable to celebrate on-site, the Labs’ annual Environmental Management System Environmental Excellence Awards honored those who help to reduce ecological impacts, in the spirit of resource conservation and environmental protection.

Among the winning projects is the Zero Waste team’s Zero Waste Challenge, which won the Grassroots award. Employees who complete the challenge earn up to 3,500 Virgin Pulse points as they learn how to implement easy steps in their daily routines to reduce their environmental impact at work and at home.

cooling system
SAVING RESOURCES — The Resource Conservation award went to engineering project lead David J. Martinez and his team for installation of a supercomputer center cooling unit that saved 554,000 gallons of water and 195,000 kilowatt hours of electricity during its first six months of operation.

The Resource Conservation award went to engineering project lead David J. Martinez and his team for their cooling unit installed on the roof of the supercomputer center at Sandia’s Albuquerque campus. Installation saved 554,000 gallons of water and 195,000 kilowatt hours of electricity during its first six months of operation.

Building systems planner Jerry Gallegos won the Kaizen award for his use of energy analytics, which continually monitors buildings for peak performance and supports Sandia’s Federal Energy Reporting Requirements. In addition to energy reduction, analytics allows for automated fault detection, deviations from optimal operations and diagnostics to assist maintenance teams in optimizing building performance.

Recruitment team members Taylor Williams, Danielle Martinez, David S. Martinez, Chelsea McAdam and Timothy Brown won the Above and Beyond award. They implemented techniques to reduce the amount of material printed for recruiting events, which led to reduced print expenses and eliminated excess paper waste. They also switched to reusable mesh packing bags to reduce single-use plastic entering the environment.

landscaping plan page
GREEN PLANNING — The Tech Area I Landscape Master Plan won the Sequoia award. (Images by Alicia Bustillos)

The Tech Area I Landscape Master Plan received the Sequoia award. Created by planner Jennifer Reisz Westlund, intern Carlos Gomez and designer Alicia Bustillos, the master plan lays out useful green infrastructure that will advance campus amenities in a pleasant yet sustainable way. The design includes plants for pollinators.

Selina Santiago won the Greenie award for her creation of a recycling program for Building 827 on Sandia’s Albuquerque campus. The building is designed to become the first zero-waste building on campus. When Selina started the project in fiscal year 2017, waste disposal was at roughly 1.8 pounds per person per week. Sampling in February 2020 showed that waste has been reduced to 1.06 pounds per person per week.

“These EMS awards are the first step in identifying projects for the NNSA Environmental Stewardship awards, which recognize exemplary contribution to environmental stewardship across the DOE complex,” said Sandia environment, safety and health director Johnathon Huff.

Employees can visit Sandia’s internal EMS Environmental Excellence Awards website for more information, including descriptions of the winning projects.