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Celebrating Earth Day Every Day at BNL

Earth Week Logo

While Brookhaven’s researchers run our huge science machines, we also have hundreds of employees that maintain our roads, keep our lights, heat, and AC on, and keep us safe and secure. Among those employees is our Environmental Protection Division (EPD) that is responsible for programs that ensure compliance with environmental regulatory and permit requirements, handles Lab waste materials, and monitors the natural resources found on-site. The division also manages our Pollution Prevention Programs and, each April, they organize our Earth Day activities.

Over the years, Brookhaven’s observance of Earth Day has developed into a week-long celebration. This year, our Earth Week celebration is all about sustainability as part of our commitment to Operational Excellence. Sustainable goals help us choose our direction as a community for responsible energy, water, and materials consumption not just in April, but all year long. Conservation and recycling are at the core of the Lab’s sustainability plan, and EPD is here to help us make smart green choices every day.

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BNL going green year-round!

Water Consumption Trend

Waste Minimization
The implementation of pollution prevention opportunities, recycling programs, and conservation initiatives has significantly reduced both waste volumes and management costs at the Lab. During the last 10 years these efforts resulted in more than $20.4 million in cost avoidance and approximately 38,000 tons of materials being reduced, recycled, or reused annually.

BNL has an active and successful solid waste recycling program. We recycle paper, cardboard, bottles and cans, construction debris, motor oil, scrap metals, automotive batteries, electronics, fluorescent bulbs, cutting oils, tires, printer/toner cartridges, and Tyvek. In fact, during the last 10 years we have recycled 2,232 tons of metal, which is equivalent to 1,336 cars.

Our Water Conservation Program has achieved dramatic reductions in water use since the mid-1990s. In each of the last 5 years, the Lab’s water consumption total was approximately half of the 1998 total – a reduction of nearly a half-billion gallons per year.

Transportation sustainability is more than a concept at BNL – it’s a practice. We have made great strides toward reducing our carbon footprint by transforming our vehicle fleet to alternative fuel vehicles, by employees carpooling to work, and by establishing flexible work schedules that allow employees to make fewer trips between home and work.

Fleet Gasoline Use

In 2011, alternative fuel vehicles made up 40 percent of our fleet. This included 74 compressed natural gas and 26 flexible fuel vehicles that use E-85, a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. BNL also has 44 off-road vehicles that use B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel. Twenty-four electric off-road vehicles round out the BNL fleet.

The Lab has been a participant in the Commuter Choice Program administered by MetroPool since its inception in 2004. Aspects of the program include a ride-matching service and a no-cost, guaranteed ride service for Rideshare participants.

Green Procurement
BNL purchases Green Seal Certified janitorial supplies and HEPA vacuum cleaners that meet LEED indoor air quality requirements. Appliances and electronic equipment meet ENERGY STAR requirements and WaterSense plumbing fixtures are installed throughout the Lab.

BNL purchased “green” concrete for the construction of the NSLS-II. Green concrete contains fly ash and slag, byproducts of the coal combustion process. This increases the durability of the concrete and reduces the amount of cement needed. If it had been landfilled, the fly ash in the NSLS-II concrete would have covered roughly 20 acres, one foot deep.

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Every Day Actions You Can Take at Work and Home

recycle logo

Every ton of glass recycled saves nine gallons of fuel oil needed to make glass from virgin materials.

Turn out the Lights!
Turn lights off whenever you leave a room or work area and don’t forget to turn off your computer at night.

Run Eco-friendly Meetings
Use paperless technology, publish materials on recycled paper, bring your own travel mugs and refillable water bottles, recycle name badge covers, save energy by turning out the lights and air conditioning when rooms are not in use and spread the word!

Buy Green Supplies!
Purchase products made from recycled materials or with high recyclable content. Buy recycled paper and reconditioned toner cartridges for your printer. Look for products with the least packaging.

Walk or Bike!
Whenever possible consider walking or biking to nearby meetings and always combine errands to reduce trips. You will save gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and reduce air emissions.

Go Paperless!
Scan and distribute electronic copies of reports and letters and cut your paper use in half by creating double-sided prints

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  • May 10 – Next meeting of the BNL Community Advisory Council, 6:30 PM, Berkner Hall, Room B.
  • May 17 – Brookhaven Woman in Science Colloquia Series, (To learn more visit: 4 PM, Berkner Hall Auditorium
  • May 24 – Brookhaven Lecture, Dario Arena, physicist, BNL Photon Sciences, 4 PM, Berkner Hall Auditorium

*The events above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and over must bring a photo ID for access to BNL events.

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