“This voluntary program helps DOE sites systematically reduce their footprint through environmentally sustainable purchases,”

When you want the gold, go green

For the second year in a row, Los Alamos National Laboratory has been recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE) with a GreenBuy Gold Award for achieving excellence in sustainable acquisition for fiscal year 2017.

Under the GreenBuy Award Program, DOE sites receive recognition for purchasing programs that obtain sustainable products, save energy, conserve water, and reduce health and environmental impact in green purchasing that extends beyond minimum compliance requirements. The Program is based on a Priority Products List, which identifies a set of products with leadership-level sustainability goals that that DOE established to help incentivize sustainable acquisition efforts.

The continued success of the program was the result of joint efforts from Acquisition Services Management (ASM) Division, Small Business Program, and the Environmental Stewardship Group in the Environmental Protection and Compliance (EPC) Division. Since the initiative was created in 2011, the Laboratory has won three (3) gold and one (1) bronze award.

This recognition for the Laboratory speaks to the importance of EPC's continued partnerships with ASM in achieving broader and deeper success in Sustainable Acquisition, said Terry Foecke, LANL Pollution Prevention Program Manager. The goal is to make it ever easier for people to buy greener products and it's working!

The Laboratory's P2 efforts reached the leadership goal for 20 products in six different categories in 2017 besting the previous years 12 products in 5 categories, demonstrating significant progress in helping to minimize the environmental impact of the Laboratory's operations. To win the gold, participating DOE sites must demonstrate green purchases of products in five categories.

This is great recognition for the Lab, particularly because the standards are higher every year, Maryrose Montalvo, LANL Sustainable Acquisition Manager. Credit goes largely to LANL Designated Procurement Representatives (DPR), procurement specialists and consumers. Asking the right questions can help reduce LANL's footprint through environmentally sustainable purchasing activities.

Purchasers buying everything from adhesives to solar-powered traffic signs to keep the environment in mind when making buying decisions. Sustainable acquisition or green purchasing, also involves life cycle analysis; a consideration of:

  • How products are made
  • The materials in the products
  • Where they come from
  • How they will be disposed

At the Laboratory's first sustainability fair two years ago, P2 recognized a best practice of purchasing recyclable conference room chairs manufactured with renewable energy. Recycling furniture at the end of its service life helps to limit unwanted impacts on the environment. Even more importantly, a side-by-side price comparison found the chairs to be of comparable quality at a lower price.

Shab Fardanesh, the AU-21 Sustainable Acquisition Program Coordinator, notes that 23 sites have qualified for GreenBuy Awards since FY 2011. This voluntary program helps DOE sites systematically reduce their footprint through environmentally sustainable purchases,says Fardanesh. As an added bonus, employees can also use this information to make greener and healthier purchases at home for their families.