Argonne receives 2012 DOE Sustainability Award for teacher workshop

By Diana Anderson

Argonne National Laboratory was recognized at the second annual U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sustainability Awards in Washington, D.C. on September 27 for its Sustainability Workshop for Middle School Teachers. Twenty teams and individuals representing DOE national laboratories and sites nation-wide were recognized for their outstanding sustainability contributions in the areas of community collaboration and engagement, and management of pollution, energy, water and vehicle fleets.

“Today’s Sustainability Award winners are leading by example, showing what’s possible when employees bring creativity, innovation and dedication to their efforts to make the Department of Energy more sustainable,” said Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman. “The efforts undertaken by these individuals and teams are helping the Department to deliver on President Obama’s sustainability goals, while inspiring others, both inside and outside of government, to start investing in cost-saving clean energy technologies.”

Argonne scientists work directly with teachers during the national laboratory’s five-day sustainability workshop on topics such as climate change, benefits and risks of common energy sources, urban planning and land use, electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and biofuels. The workshop features seminars, tours and hands-on lab experiments such as building titanium dioxide solar cells and then testing them for power levels, efficiency and capacity. Each teacher leaves the workshop with a toolbox full of teacher-developed materials, artifacts and lesson plans that they can use in the classroom.

Argonne’s teacher workshop was launched in 2011 and attracts middle school teachers from across the Chicagoland region including areas such as Bloomingdale, Chicago, Crete, Glen Ellyn, Glenview, Naperville, Orland Park, Plainfield, Tinley Park and Wheaton. Argonne’s workshop is free of charge and teachers have the option to receive an Illinois teacher certification credit or college credit from Aurora University.

The 2012 Sustainability Award winners help DOE meet its sustainability goals. In fiscal year 2011, DOE reduced energy intensity by 23 percent from the fiscal year 2003 baseline, exceeding the 18 percent goal requirement, and the agency’s collective water intensity was reduced by 14.7 percent from the fiscal year 2007 baseline, exceeding the eight percent requirement. The Department also used 9.4 percent renewable electricity equivalent, thus making a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 in October 2009, setting sustainability goals for federal agencies with a focus on making improvements in environmental, energy and economic performance. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, reduce fleet petroleum consumption, conserve water, reduce waste, support sustainable communities and leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.

Individuals who contributed to the workshop are pictured from left to right: Diana Anderson, Andrew Skipor, Nancy Nega, Devin Hodge, Doug Sisterson, Joel Stauber, Lou Harnisch, Tim Kulak, Gregg Kulma, Dejan Ristic, Deon Ettinger, Seth Darling.

Posted October 3, 2012