PPPL is continuing to move towards sustainability with several successful initiatives!
Collaborating efforts between the cafeteria and the laboratory staff have led to extensive advances in composting at PPPL. The organic waste recycling program commenced in 2010 with the addition of compostable dining materials and support from Waste Management. Plates, containers, and all dining materials are biodegradable plant-based products that are handled at the Wilmington Organic Recycling Center (WORC), the largest composting facility in the eastern part of the country. WORC has an environmentally friendly state-of-the-art aerobic system.
The organic waste recycling program has led to a significant increase in the lab's recycled materials and has been a proud addition in maintaining and improving sustainable action at PPPL. Employees are encouraged to participate in composting through lab-wide signage and continuing education.
Other efforts in composting include paper towel collection in restrooms throughout the lab. The success of composting hand paper towels has been accomplished through 'paper only' receptacles in the restrooms. These efforts have diverted an extensive amount of paper towel products away from landfills. Composting organic waste as well as paper towels has been a continuing effort towards sustainability.
PPPL proudly maintains a single stream recycling program. Inorganic recyclables including paper, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles are all collected in a communal receptacle. Materials are sorted and managed for recycling at the facility. This condensed form of recycling reduces confusion and has led to higher recycling rates. Larger recycling bins were placed in all offices throughout the lab. Each bin has a reduced waste receptacle to limit waste production and encourage recycling.
PPPL has donated 460 pounds of gently used binders to the Ewing Township School District. The binders will be used for students and faculty for academic lesson planning, classroom activities, and student projects. This creative approach to recycling has been beneficial to the community, supporting local schools and encouraging recycling efforts beyond PPPL.
Van Pool Program
The Van Pool Program provides transportation to and from PPPL for lab employees. Members in the Van Pool live in close proximity to one another making carpooling a logical alternative to individually driving to work. This program reduces the amount of single occupancy vehicles on the road during the daily commute and promotes sustainability both on and off PPPL's campus. The Van Pool program has conserved fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This ongoing program will continue to provide green transportation and remain as a sustainable alternative for PPPL employees enduring long commutes.
Several rain gardens have been constructed on PPPL's campus in the past few years. These gardens are situated in locations susceptible to large influxes of water runoff, especially off of impervious surfaces such as roadways, roofs, and sidewalks. Rain gardens are intended to divert rain and surface waters away from storm drains. They reduce contaminant levels in the runoff and recharge groundwater by providing a natural, vegetated filtration system. Rain gardens improve water quality in local waterways, reduce contaminant levels, recharge groundwater systems, and provide an aesthetically pleasing natural landscape. These gardens are situated around PPPL's campus in locations that are regularly inundated with water. These additions have improved surface water runoff, supported local wildlife, and enhanced the natural integrity of PPPL's campus.
PPPL has been on a mission to integrate LED lights into office and work spaces. Several LED light fixtures have been installed throughout the lab. LED task lights were integrated into offices to reduce reliance on overhead fluorescent lighting which consume a large amount of energy. This replacement promotes task lighting as an alternative to overhead fixtures and saves energy on a daily basis. Other integration efforts include an installation of LED lights with the construction of the LSB extension and a lighting upgrade in the Engineering wing. LED lights draw less energy and typically have a dimming control which allows the user to adjust the amount of lighting to a comfortable level. LED lights require less energy to be powered, and therefore save energy in both task lighting and overhead fixtures.
100% Green Renovations
PPPL has been renovating offices throughout the lab to uphold its sustainable practices by retrofitting in entirety with green products. Each renovated office is equipped with a variety of environmentally conscious products and equipment including: CREE LED Lighting, MAB Zero VOC Paint, Task lighting, Titebond Zero VOC Wall Adhesive, Steelcase Furniture, Interface CoolZero Carpeting (with no carpet adhesives), Armstrong Ceiling Tiles, JM Wall Insulation Formaldehyde-Free, and Acoustical Wall Panels with 35 % recycled content. This ongoing practice is an effort towards increasing the sustainability of the entire lab.
Recognition of Green Employees
Numerous employees have made the decision to practice sustainability and green initiatives from home. Several hybrid and eco-efficient vehicles can be spotted on PPPL's campus. These employees and vehicles are recognized for their initiative and provided reserved parking spots in close proximity to the building. Practicing sustainability at home and at the office is encouraged, recognized, and upheld at PPPL.
Alternative Fuels & Biodiesel
The majority of vehicles at the lab have converted to alternative fuels. More than 70% are utilizing B-20 and E-85 fuel sources in an effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. PPPL is the only government facility to receive the Federal Fleet Award which recognizes vehicle fleets for environmental sustainability. PPPL not only runs all utility and work vehicles on biodiesel, but powers all emergency vehicles on alternative fuels as well. The green fleet at PPPL is commendable for its efforts in sustainability and strives for continuing success.
PPPL has received numerous environmental action awards. These prestigious recognitions acknowledge sustainability initiatives including fleet management, end-of-life management, green building, ENERGY STAR® outreach, emissions, and more. PPPL has received the DOE EStar Honorable Mention, Federal Energy and Water Management Award, LEED-EBOM Gold Certification for LSB, Federal Electronics Challenge Bronze Award, DOE Sustainability Award, and DOE Secretarial Honor Award. The Environmental group at PPPL strives for continuing recognition of sustainability efforts and environmental action.
DOE's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
This program focuses on purchasing products that are environmentally friendly by attributes specified by Congress (bio-based/recycled content, energy/water efficient, alternative fuels/vehicles, and non-ozone depleting). The benefits of this program include a healthier working environment for all staff members at PPPL and also gives LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) credits/certification. The program reduces disposal and cleanup costs, hazardous materials on site, and reduces waste. Continuing support for projects such as these promote continued sustainability practices at the lab.
Several products are purchased through this program including janitorial cleaning supplies, restroom soap, office furniture, recycled paper, lighting, and low VOC paints. All appliances must be ENERGY STAR® and EPEAT® registered.