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Greenhouse Gas Management

Well before the federal government established greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals, ORNL had taken the proactive step of building a comprehensive GHG inventory and management plan. Since 2008, ORNL has evaluated GHG inventories annually and our goal has been to support projects designed to meet or exceed federal GHG reduction targets.

The Johnson Controls project to improve steam plan efficiency is an excellent example of this commitment. As a result of the more efficient process, the use of natural gas at ORNL and the resulting GHG emissions have declined by 28% over the past 10 years.

As with most national laboratories, the use of electricity to power our research has always been the major source of GHG emissions at ORNL. The operation of our mission-critical high-energy mission-specific facilities (such as the Spallation Neutron Source and the Summit supercomputer) has required the increased purchase of electricity from our regional provider, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). As our mission has grown, so has the use of electricity to accomplish these commitments. As we acknowledge the basic message of sustainability our research continues to have a positive influence on national priorities such as domestic security and energy independence and has the potential to reach a breakthrough that could transform emissions associated with energy use.