Energy efficiency: National labs try to cut energy bills while missions expand

When your business involves particle accelerators shooting electrons out at nearly the speed of light, gigantic supercomputer models of thermonuclear explosions and light sources a billion times brighter than the sun, reducing greenhouse gas emissions might rank low on your list of priorities.

But the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories have long pursued energy efficiency projects alongside their energy and defense missions since their inception during World War II. The idea is to blend resource conservation into developing cutting-edge science. The approach has been to refine how they use their fundamental resources — indoor space, warm air, cold water and electrons. The goal is to do more with less.

Argonne Sustainabiliy Program Manager Devin Hodge

“It makes sense to smart people to [pursue energy efficiency], and we have a lot of smart people that work here,” said Devin Hodge, sustainability program manager at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. “Everybody wants to go to the prom with sustainability.” Read more.

Posted June 26, 2012