Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Ron Walli (wallira@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


2010 Commitment Award recognizes ORNL's F&O directorate

As part of the cleanup of laboratory space in Building 4500S, members of the lab cleanout team handled some 30,000 samples of unwanted chemicals, which were identified and disposed of through an off-site waste management vendor.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 16, 2010 — A comprehensive effort undertaken by the Facilities and Operations Directorate of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to improve efficiency, security and safety has helped earn an award from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.

The F&O Directorate has nearly 1,000 employees who are responsible for the physical infrastructure to enable science at the lab. Their work affects virtually every employee, said F&O Directorate Director Herb Debban, who noted that his organization consists of dedicated individuals who take their responsibility to heart.

"The F&O Continuous Process Improvement Program demonstrates our commitment to the staff and to the Department of Energy as we constantly strive to increase efficiency and effectiveness," Debban said.

F&O staff scrutinized virtually every area of the lab as it completed eight improvement projects in fiscal year 2010.

One of the major challenges involved cleaning out 90 laboratories in Building 4500S, a research facility built in the early 1960s, in preparation for moving these labs into the new Chemical and Materials Sciences Building, which is under construction. The Lab Cleanout Project Team removed more than 30,000 samples of chemicals, 22,375 pounds of metal, 55,306 pounds of glass and 235 pounds of miscellaneous scrap in fiscal year 2010 at a cost savings of $800,000.

Debban noted that the team was made up of employees not only from F&O but also the Environment, Safety, Health and Quality Directorate (Environmental Protection and Waste Division, Nuclear and Radiological Protection Division, and Quality Systems and Services Division) and the Physical Science Directorate (Chemical Sciences Division and Materials Science and Technology Division) as well.

Laboratory relocations will take place in the June through October 2011 timeframe and lab cleanout activities will continue through fiscal year 2012. The total projected cost savings for lab cleanout activities and related moves through September 2012 is estimated at $7.6 million.

Debban noted that his directorate manages to a "balanced scorecard" that focuses on improving safety and security, improving process efficiency, maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, mission accomplishments and demonstrating leadership in sustainability. The latter is evident by modernization efforts that saw the construction of 1.2 million square feet of offices and lab space since 2000 with another 400,000 square feet in the queue. The new high-performance buildings resulted in a 33 percent increase in space with just a 5 percent increase in energy usage.

The new buildings enabled ORNL to become the largest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- (LEED) certified facility in the Southeast. Also, ORNL is home to the first LEED building within the Department of Energy, the first Gold LEED building within DOE and the lab earned the first EB Gold LEED certification for an existing building. In addition, 75 percent of ORNL's vehicle fleet uses alternative fuel and the lab won a White House Closing the Circle Award for Green Transportation.

Another area recognized by the TNCPE was F&O's high marks for customer satisfaction, which has increased from 70 percent satisfied with a wide range of services to 94 percent. Customer satisfaction numbers measure maintenance, site services, building appearance, material delivery and facility services.

Also playing a role in earning the award was a 90 percent reduction in injuries in the F&O directorate since UT-Battelle took over managing the lab in April 2000.

The Commitment Award, which will be presented at the 18th annual Excellence in Tennessee Awards Banquet Feb. 23 in Franklin, was earned through an annual evaluation and assessment process. The non-profit TNCPE (http://www.TNCPE.org) uses the Criteria for Performance Excellence, established by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/) as the evaluation tool.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.