Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Sarah Wright ()
Communications and External Relations


ORNL powers up alternative transport to save energy

Joan Lawson, ORNL Wellness Program, and Herb Debban, Facilities and Operations Director, helped launch the new bicycling program at ORNL for fitness as well as transportation purposes.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 23, 2008 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory aims to replace gas-guzzling four wheelers with calorie-burning two wheelers. Thanks to a new program, bicycles may soon be the preferred mode of transport for employees looking for an alternative to driving or walking from one lab building to another.

ORNL's sprawling campus makes transportation a periodic concern, especially for those who are thinking about energy efficiency and sustainability. In an effort to provide a solution, ORNL's Wellness Program and the Facilities and Operations Directorate's Energy Management group teamed up to provide bikes for use on campus.

"We looked at ways we could decrease fuel consumption here at ORNL and noticed that people take a lot of short trips in the fleet vehicles," said John Forstrom of ORNL Logistical Services. As a result, 100 of the two-wheelers, which have "automatic" 3-speeds, will be stationed at various places around the campus, Forstrom said.

Joan Lawson, ORNL Wellness Program, said the bikes will be available for fitness as well as transportation purposes.

"The bikes are a great way to reduce vehicle use, and people can get a little bit of exercise at the same time," Lawson said.

The federal government as a whole spends more than $9 billion to power its operations at approximately 500,000 facilities across America, according to statistics from DOE's Federal Energy Management Program.

As one of those facilities, ORNL is aggressively pursuing efficient energy management by making buildings more efficient and fleets less dependent on foreign sources of fuel.

For the colder months or during inclement weather, employees also have another alternative transportation option for short trips. Global Electric Motorcars, or GEMs, rolled onto the streets of ORNL earlier this month. The electric cars are legal on roadways with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, have a range of 45 miles between charges and can be plugged in at night when power demands are low, said Greg Palko of the labs Energy Management group.

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