Sustainable Success

Posted: February 14, 2013 - 10:06am

It’s been an award winning season for Y-12 in its sustainability efforts. The most recent awards were received from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the 30th Annual Tennessee Chamber Environmental Conference held in October 2012. Y-12 received the 2012 Environmental Excellence Award and an achievement certificate.

“It is an honor to represent Y-12 and receive awards on behalf of the employees who work to make the recognition possible,” said Jan Jackson, manager of Sustainability and Stewardship. “We are happy to educate others about the green news we have at Y-12.”

Y-12’s award nominations typically explain how our programs share expertise to make communities safer while encouraging sustainable activities.

“Through Y-12’s Work for Others Program, we link our knowledge from almost 70 years of producing, handling, packaging, transporting and accounting for nuclear materials to others,” Jackson said.

Given as an example was Y-12’s Nuclear and Radiological Field Training Center. The NRFTC is an example of using resources to provide specific instruction on how to respond to nuclear, chemical, or biological emergencies. Those receiving training are the people dedicated to keeping our population, nationally and internationally, safe from potential environmental problems that would result from such emergencies.

Reduce and reuse is one mantra we know at Y-12, and the NRFTC has cut costs by using salvaged items from various departments at Y-12 instead of purchasing new materials.

“It’s a win-win for NRFTC and Y-12 because we’re putting one’s waste to another’s use. Some items were no longer usable for their original purposes, but the items serve as useful training props for hands-on training scenarios,” explained Projects, Sustainability and Facilities Director Durand Carmany.

The multidiscipline Y-12 Sustainability Team works to meet sustainability requirements and serves as a way to share information and promote awareness of sustainability throughout the site and the surrounding communities. The team documents progress and identifies needed resources to implement environmental activities. The goal is to support sustainability and reduce the use of resources while conserving energy.

Jane Nations, Energy Sustainability program manager, steers the Sustainability Team. “The team has contributed to improvements at Y-12,” she said. “Personnel participated in identifying energy reduction initiatives that helped us make the Jack Case Center Y-12’s first High Performance and Sustainable Building.”

Other contributions include implementing the new pervious pavement parking lot and solar crosswalk. Have a question on how to green Y-12? “The team is a huge resource for general knowledge regarding ’greening’ Y-12,” Nations added.

Earlier in 2012, Y-12 received two 2012 U.S. Department of Energy Sustainability Awards for activities completed during fiscal 2011. Y-12’s sustainability efforts were one reason these awards were received. The various outreach activities performed within Y-12, the local community and at the national level were showcased. Examples include the Aluminum Beverage Can Committee’s donations to area charities, employee participation in Earth Day events and the recycle event for employees’ personal electronics.

Y-12 also received the DOE Federal Energy and Water Management Award for replacing the 1950s era coal-fired boiler steam plant with a new centralized steam plant using natural gas-fired packaged boiler systems. This undertaking cut Y-12’s electricity consumption for steam generation by 57 percent, saving more than 15 billion Btu and more than $126,000 annually in power costs.

“Our programs and our employees reach beyond the obvious when looking for ways we can improve the environment,” Carmany said.