Department of Energy lab achieves “GreenBuy” award at gold level for its sixth year and attains superior level GreenBuy recognition for its second year
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Finding ways to purchase sustainable products for the work of science has yielded another golden award. The U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has been recognized with a gold-level GreenBuy Award for its purchase of environmentally friendly products in fiscal year 2022.
The GreenBuy Award Program honors DOE sites that go beyond the minimum requirements for purchasing products that are energy efficient, water efficient and recycled. Participating sites can qualify for three levels of the award: gold, silver and bronze.
“The award is to show our mindset is to always buy green, always buy sustainable, and to keep the earth clean and green for future generations,” says Barbara Rice, Jefferson Lab procurement officer and the lead for the lab’s GreenBuy program initiatives. “It’s all in line with being a Department of Energy site.”
Around Jefferson Lab, the GreenBuy award can be seen everywhere – water fountains that encourage reusable bottles, recycle bins, electric vehicle charging stations, and a dedicated stockroom for secondhand materials.
Even between DOE labs, larger products are shared and repurposed – saving money while making sustainability a priority. Rice notes that this saved nearly $60,000 one year.
“We have been receiving this award for quite some time,” Rice says. “We were getting bronze and silver awards before. Then, when I took over the project, I thought ‘Why not gold?’”
This is the sixth year that Jefferson Lab has earned a gold-level award, which also earned the lab the superior designation for site that have earned gold at least five times. Sites qualifying for the GreenBuy Award at the gold level must fulfill requirements for purchasing nine “green” products across five categories, each category representing a specific aspect of sustainability.
Rice is responsible for researching the areas of Jefferson Lab that fulfill the qualifications. Fulfilling the award requirements has never been a simple task, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic made it as challenging as ever.
“During COVID, we were actually able to get two awards, which was an amazing accomplishment,” Rice says. “It shows how the mindsets of people were, even though they were working from home and out of their comfort zone. They were still mindful of what they were doing and how it was going to impact the community.”
Rice recognizes an important goal with this award: positive community impact. Investing in the community’s future is synonymous with investing in the planet.
“I think it’s important that one of the biggest employers in Newport News is somebody who cares about the environment,” says Rice. “The community sees ‘Department of Energy lab’ and they probably already assume we’re a good steward that promotes green initiatives.”
Rice shares that, moving forward, Jefferson Lab’s goal is to continue investing in our planet by investing in green products and initiatives through the GreenBuy Award Program. It’s not easy, but Rice plans on accomplishing this by continuing to achieve gold status throughout the coming years.
“The award isn’t for me. I didn’t do anything except go out and collect the information,” Rice says. “Throughout the lab, the people who continue to seek out ways to purchase environmentally friendly products and services – those are the ones that deserve and create the award … Kudos to everybody at the lab!”
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Department of Energy – GreenBuy Awards
By Nick Delaney
Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, firstname.lastname@example.org