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ORNL wins Tennessee award for saving water, helping environment
Presenting the award at Thursday's ceremony in Nashville was Richard Holland (left), chair, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry Environment Committee. Also pictured are, from left, Joe Herndon, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Environment, Safety, Health, and Quality Directorate, and Susan Michaud and Jim Eaton of the ESH&Q Directorate. (hi-res image)
At a ceremony today in Nashville, UT-Battelle was presented the Water Quality Award and an Achievement Certificate for Environmental Excellence. The presentation was made at the 27th Annual Tennessee Chamber Environmental Conference in Nashville.
Awards are given on the basis of past performance, innovation and compliance beyond legal requirements for companies with fewer than 250 employees and those with more than 250 employees.
UT-Battelle's strategy began several years ago with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified east portion of the lab, which includes 750,000 square feet of space for offices, research and conferences. Low-flow fixtures and faucets and reuse of rainwater for irrigation help save 8.5 million gallons of water annually.
"UT-Battelle continues to demonstrate by these projects its environmental awareness and stewardship," said Wayne Scharber, vice president for Environmental Affairs for the Tennessee Chamber.
The effort has been contagious as UT-Battelle led an initiative to institute a sustainable green transformation and modernization of Oak Ridge High School. This activity included other corporate members and citizens of Oak Ridge.
Susan Michaud, manager of the ORNL Pollution Prevention Program, noted that these activities are a high priority.
"Reducing our use of natural resources is important to Oak Ridge National Laboratory," Michaud said. "Last year we implemented several water-reducing projects that reduced our water consumption by 15 million gallons per year."
Other water saving strategies included a closed-loop chiller system, a cooling water initiative and a steam plant water reduction. The water savings, however, were just the beginning as ORNL also has improved operational efficiency, took actions to prevent the release of legacy mercury to the environment, reduced total regulated air emissions by 4,800 pounds per year and saved 3,446 gallons of fuel oil. These and other strategies have resulted in an estimated annual savings of $238,000 and have increased the environmental awareness of lab personnel and the community.
"All of the companies receiving recognition have gone the extra mile to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and to make our environment a cleaner and safer place to live," Scharber said. "They are excellent examples of how Tennessee companies work to preserve the environment."
More information about the awards and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is available at http://www.tnchamber.org/
The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the state's largest broad-based trade association representing employers and their employees across the state.
UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.