Environmental Management System
NREL's Environmental Management System (EMS) supports the laboratory's commitment to continually improve environmental and sustainability performance. The management system integrates environmental protection into daily activities throughout the laboratory. To improve efficiency and effectiveness, NREL integrates environmental protection with safety and health hazard identification and control processes, as well as quality management processes.
NREL's Environment Management System was certified to the ISO 14001 international standard for environmental management systems in 2011 by NSF-ISR. NREL's EMS also meets the criteria of Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, and DOE Order, 436.1, Departmental Sustainability that require Federal facilities to implement environmental management systems. To maintain certification, the laboratory receives a surveillance audit each year and a full recertification audit every three years.
NREL conducts regular risk assessments of its activities and operations and mitigates potential impacts through physical and procedural controls. The following "aspects" or potential impact areas receive particular attention through the management system:
- Air emissions
- Surface water or groundwater emissions
- Wastewater releases
- Waste generation and management
- Resource use or conservation (energy, water, land, biological, cultural)
NREL regularly reports progress on its aspects and other potential impacts through:
- Annual Environmental Performance Report (see the Environmental Protection page for these reports)
- Sustainable NREL reports
NREL's Environmental Management System follows a Plan-Do-Check-Feedback cycle to support continual improvement:
- Risk assessment and hazard identification
- Objectives and targets
Implementation & operation
- Document and record management
- Procedures and SOPs
- Roles and responsibilities
Checking and corrective action
- Monitoring and measurement
- Evaluation of compliance
- Assessment and corrective action
- Management review
Colorado Environmental Leadership Program
NREL has been a member of the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) since 2004 and receives recognition as a "Gold-Leader" through the program. This Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment program recognizes facilities that voluntarily:
- Exceed regulatory requirements
- Implement environmental management systems
- Work closely with their communities
- Set three-year goals focusing on measurable results.
Learn more about this voluntary program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ELP website.