Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


Oak Ridge National Lab wins White House pollution prevention award

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has earned a White House Closing the Circle Award for outstanding federal environmental stewardship practices. Pictured here (l to r) are: Kathye Settles (Fleet Manager), Joe Herdon (Director of ESHQ), Susan Michaud (Pollution Prevention Program Manager), Herb Debban (Director of Facility Operations), Lynn Cox (Garage Supervisor), Joseph Cascio (Federal Environmental Executive) and John Mizroch (DOE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy).

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 16, 2008 — The Green Transportation Initiative at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has received a White House Closing the Circle Award, recognizing outstanding federal environmental stewardship practices.

The award, presented by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, cited the lab's efforts in reducing energy consumption and use of alternative fuels in its work fleet.

In fiscal year 2007, under ORNL's alternative fuel initiative there were 118 flex-fuel vehicles in the fleet, representing 25 percent of the fleet, fueled by an on-site 8,000-gallon E85 fuel tank. Nearly two-thirds of purchased vehicles were flex-fuel vehicles.

ORNL increased its use of E85, which is 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline, from just over 27,000 gallons in 2006 to nearly 30,000 gallons in 2007.

"By using flex-fuel vehicles for 25 percent of its fleet, ORNL is making a meaningful reduction in its petroleum consumption. The Green Transportation Initiative is an excellent model for other federal agencies to follow in an effort to reduce our use of foreign oil, and demonstrates that the federal government can create new practices that the private sector can follow," said Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Chattanooga). "It is fitting that alternative fuels play a growing role in the ORNL fleet, considering the bioenergy research being conducted at the lab. "ORNL also implemented a B20 (20-percent biodiesel, 80-percent petroleum diesel) alternative fuel initiative. The lab now has 45 diesel vehicles and numerous pieces of equipment in its fleet using B20, plus an on-site 6,000-gallon B20 fuel tank and an 80-gallon B20 tank truck. From February 2007 through April 2008, ORNL used 24,406 gallons of biodiesel in its on-site fleet, which resulted in reduced tail pipe emissions compared to using traditional diesel fuel.

"ORNL's green transportation initiative has increased the use of bio-based materials and specifically alternative fuel, reduced reliance on petroleum-based materials, reduced tailpipe emissions and provided personnel with safer, more cost-effective transportation options," ORNL fleet manager Kathye Settles said.

The award nomination also cited the lab's efforts to encourage walking and bicycle use, its taxi service, roadway redesign, and the carpooling initiative.

"ORNL was recognized by the Office of Science as Best in Class in Pollution Prevention in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and we got a Noteworthy Practice in 2007," said Susan Michaud, who directs the Pollution Prevention program. "This year we were recognized by the Office of Science for two nominations. The Green Transportation Initiative won Best in Class and the Comprehensive Sustainability Initiative (Green Buildings) won a Noteworthy Practice.

Both projects went on to win DOE's Pollution Prevention Star awards. The Pollution Prevention Star Awards recognizes exemplary pollution prevention practices across the Department; the awards are conferred for demonstrated excellence in pollution prevention and sustainable environmental stewardship.

Since 1996, more than 200 Closing the Circle awards have been given for innovative, cost-effective contributions in increasing the purchase of recycled content, bio-based, and environmentally preferable products and services; reducing the generation of wastes; incorporating energy and environmental considerations into building design; establishing highly effective environmental management systems at federal facilities; using alternative fuel vehicles and reducing the fleet fuel consumption; and promoting federal electronics stewardship efforts.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.