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DOE Cuts Scope 1 and 2 GHGs 13% in Two Years

The Department of Energy reduced its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent from its FY 2008 baseline of 4.6 million mTCO2e, to 4 mT in FY 2010, putting it on course to beat its target of a 28 percent reduction by 2020, according to the DOE’s 2011 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan.

In that time, the department also reduced scope 3 emissions by one percent, from 851,778 mTCO2e to 841,841 mTCO2e, en route to a targeted 13 percent reduction by 2020.

In the report (pdf), the department said its Scope 1 & 2 emissions reductions were primarily due renewable energy certificate purchases, energy efficiency improvements and fugitive emission reductions.

The DOE has reduced its energy intensity 18 percent from its 2003 baseline, beatings its goal for a 15 percent reduction by 2010. It is aiming to reach a 30 percent reduction by 2015.

And in FY 2010 it derived nine percent of its electricity from renewable sources, through on-site renewable energy generation and renewable energy credits, beating a goal of 7.5 percent by 2013.

Among the DOE’s energy- and carbon-saving projects:

Between FY 2001 and FY 2010, DOE agency the Bonneville Power Administration completed energy efficiency projects with 21 federal agencies in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in electrical savings of more than 170 million kWh per year. These projects also generated gas, steam and water savings. BPA also led the Grand Coulee Dam lighting retrofit project, which retrofitted or replaced more than 10,000 fixtures, raising the Dam’s capacity by nearly 9 million kWh per year.

In FY 2010, Secretary Chu directed all DOE offices to install cool roofs wherever cost effective in replacement and new build. The department installed a cool roof on the West building of its Forrestal headquarters complex in December 2010, with another scheduled for completion this fall.

In total, the department installed nearly half a million square feet of cool roofs in FY 2010, which it expects to save $100,000 a year in heating and cooling costs.

Also in FY 2010, BP Solar began construction on a 32 MW, 195 acre project for the Long Island Power Authority, one of the largest solar photovoltaic arrays on DOE/BNL property, and the largest single PV array in the northeast. The project is being financed by BP Solar, resulting in minimal costs to taxpayers, the DOE says, and should prevent about 31,000 tons of carbon per year for 30 to 40 years.

In April 2011, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory completed installation of EV charging stations powered by solar canopies. The chargers use outdoor battery storage to accommodate vehicles’ charging needs during peak periods.

ORNL is also developing a new biomass plant to replace a natural gas and fuel oil plant. The new facility is expected to reduce energy consumption at ORNL offices and laboratories by 50 percent, water use by 23 percent, fossil fuel consumption by 80 percent, and Scope 1 GHG emissions by 46 percent, relative to a FY 2008 baseline.

DOE’s Y-12 laboratory replaced an old coal-fired plant, which had declined to 52 percent efficiency, with new natural gas boilers that are 82 percent efficient. Emissions from the plant of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are projected to decrease by about 71, 99 and 95 percent, respectively.

The department also reported that several facilities made progress in controlling fugitive emissions.  Argonne National Laboratory formed an SF6 users group in FY 2010 to raise awareness, evaluate opportunities for reductions, and develop and implement leak detection and repair procedures. This effort led to a 73 percent reduction in SF6 emissions compared to FY 2008.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reduced its annual use of SF6 at its Flash X-Ray system by more than 87 percent by introducing a recirculation system that purifies SF6 for reuse and reduces the amount of gas released during maintenance operations. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory decreased its use of SF6 by 45 percent by purchasing leak detection equipment, locating and repairing leaks, redesigning components, and improving its inventory process.

And in FY 2010, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality gave Green Gov Presidential Awards to two DOE sites: the Sandia National Laboratories, for using 350 solar-powered Global Electric Motorcars carts as primary means of campus transportation, avoiding about 184,800 pounds of carbon dioxide and 700 pounds of sulfur dioxide annually; and the Idaho National Laboratory, which increased alternative fuel use by 56 percent and decreased petroleum fuel consumption by 21 percent.

DOE says it continue to reduce its emissions by:

  • Reducing the use of petroleum-based fuels, and cutting the number of vehicles in the federal fleet
  • Installing asset-level metering to better manage resource use
  • Meeting the Federal Guiding Principles for High-Performance Sustainable Buildings
  • Reducing GHGs and non-CO2 fugitive emissions, specifically sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
  • Exploring low carbon energy technologies such as fuel cells, cogeneration, biomass, and other renewable technologies
  • Expanding the use of teleconferencing, video conferencing, and web-based meetings to reduce employee air travel
  • Establishing an employee telework pilot and hoteling framework
  • Providing employee incentive programs for car/van-pooling and use of public transportation
  • Reducing transmission and distribution losses through additional on-site power generation
  • Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill by increasing sustainable purchasing and diversion rates

According to the report, the department has also reduced its potable water intensity by 12 percent from 2007. It has targets of 16 percent by 2015 and 26 percent by 2020.

In FY 2010, the National Nuclear Security Administration converted 47 buildings from a centralized system to local boilers, in an installation that included 106 hot water boilers, five steam boilers, new natural gas connections and meters. DOE said the new heating system will save nearly 12 million gallons of water per year and is about 85 percent efficient, compared to the 65 percent efficiency rating for the old boilers. It will reduce both energy usage and associated pollutants by about 60 percent, the department said.

Meanwhile ORNL identified 65 buildings that used standard-flow plumbing fixtures and upgraded these by installing faucet aerators, faucet flow restrictors, low-flow showerheads, urinal flush valves, and low-flow toilets, preventing about 12 million gallons of potable water consumption, 12 million gallons of wastewater output, and $35,000 in costs per year.

The DOE was just one of dozens of agencies that released their Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans earlier this month, showing what they are doing to achieve the environmental, economic and energy goals set by President Obama’s Executive Order 13514, signed in October 2009.

The order set targets including cutting facility energy intensity by 30 percent by 2015, from a 2003 baseline; ensuring that at least five percent of agency electricity comes from renewable sources, with at least half that from post-1999 sources; and reducing potable water intensity by at least 26 percent by 2020, compared to a 2007 baseline.

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