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PPPL wins national award for green buying practices

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has won a national award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizing the Laboratory’s leadership and continuous improvement in buying sustainable products. It was the fourth award PPPL has received in the past year for its sustainable practices. 

The Laboratory received its most recent recognition, a GreenBuy Prime Award for fiscal year 2017, from the DOE’s Office of Environmental, Health, Safety & Security at the 2018 Energy Exchange Conference in Cleveland in August.  Kate Morrison, deputy head of Facilities and Site Services, accepted the award on PPPL’s behalf. 

The honor recognizes PPPL for receiving three gold GreenBuy awards for its green purchasing in the last several years. The DOE raises the bar each year to encourage facilities to increase their green purchasing. That can be a challenge for smaller facilities like PPPL that are already purchasing green products, explained Robert Sheneman, head of PPPL’s Environmental Services Division. 

The award is intended to recognize facilities that have a strong sustainable record, he said.

“It’s nice for the DOE to recognize that we’ve put these programs in place and to recognize that PPPL has really embraced sustainability and connected it to our business processes,” Sheneman said. 

Strong record of green electronics purchases

PPPL has a strong record of buying green electronic products. Earlier this year the Laboratory received a three-star EPEAT award from the Green Electronics Council, recognizing that 99 percent of PPPL’s electronics purchased in fiscal year 2016 were EPEAT-certified, meaning the products use sustainable and recyclable materials that meet or exceed Energy Star specifications for saving energy. 

PPPL requires Brock & Co., Inc., the cafeteria vendor, to buy green products, with  93 percent of the company’s purchases, from serving ware to take-out containers, meeting the green standard. 

PPPL has also received during the past year  a U.S. EPA 2017 Federal Green Challenge Award and a U.S. EPA 2017 WasteWise Regional Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its 97 percent recycling rate and for its composting program. Much of the recycling rate was due to the recycling of construction materials from the Infrastructure and Operational Improvements (IOI) project.

Other green products

PPPL also buys bio-based fuels for vehicles and sustainable furniture, along with recycled paper products for the restrooms, recycled paper for copy machines, and other supplies. 

Other PPPL awards include a gold Green Buy Award from the DOE in 2016. The Laboratory has also received a DOE Federal Sustainability Award for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and was named an EPA Waste-Wise Federal Partner of the Year in 2012. The Lyman Spitzer Building was received U.S.-LEED Gold certification in 2011. 

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.


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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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