Earth Week 2012: Sustainability at BNL – What Can You Do?

Earth Week 2012 at Brookhaven

What does it take for a Brookhaven Lab employee to make a sustainable difference?

“With concrete, actionable ideas that they can utilize, employees can make a tremendous difference here,” said Assistant Laboratory Director for the Environment, Safety & Health Directorate George Goode. “And Earth Week 2012 is one of the best times to learn about those ideas, take action, and start something meaningful.”

Earth Week 2012 runs April 16 through 20 at the Lab, and brings a host of engaging activities to the Lab community, including the Long Island Earth Summit – co-sponsored by Citizens Campaign for the Environment – on Tuesday, April 17, and concluding with a guided bicycle tour through the Long Island Solar Farm on Friday, April 20. Visit the Earth Week 2012 web page to see the full slate of activities.

“Here at work, there are simple things we can do, which may seem small on a person-by-person basis, but when aggregated equal a great impact on the Lab’s use of resources and waste reduction efforts,” said Bob Lee, manager of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD). “That could mean using double-sided printing for all your documents or, instead of printing, sharing files electronically. Breaking the paper habit is easy to do.”

Lee also pointed out how easy it is to save energy by setting computers to go into sleep mode when not in use. The Information Technology Division maintains a page of instructions to help you set your computer into the right energy-saving mode.

“The simple things are universal,” he explained. “Ride your bicycle or walk instead of driving – and if you have to drive, ride share with co-workers. These are things most people can do – and they have a significant impact on reducing energy use and our carbon footprint.”

What are some other things you can do?

  • Turn off the lights: If you have control of them, turn lights off whenever you leave your office or work area.
  • Turn down the heat: Does your office need to be that warm or cool? Treat BNL’s workspace just as you would your home.
  • Use recycling bins: Every ton of glass recycled saves nine gallons of fuel oil needed to make glass from virgin materials.
  • Buy green supplies: Recycled paper, reconditioned toner cartridges, products with a high recycled, or recyclable content with less packaging.

One of the most important things Brookhaven Lab employees can do is simply begin the conversation about sustainability, according to Jason Remien, EPD’s Regulatory Compliance Group leader.

“Keep talking to people about these issues,” he said. “In order to have a meaningful, measureable impact throughout the year, you have to constantly have these conversations. Not just during Earth Week. And that’s something I know we can do.”

Remien, who led the Earth Week 2012 planning team, said one of his main goals is to help Lab employees get involved and stay committed.

According to Goode, Earth Week 2012 is one of the best ways for employees to jumpstart their commitment to sustainable activities.

“And I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, from every directorate across the Lab, at an Earth Week event,” Goode said. “There’s something going on for everyone here at Brookhaven.”

2012-2997  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom