NREL has transformed excellent environmental stewardship of its campuses into a highly replicable sustainability strategy, minimizing the environmental impacts of the lab's activities. Through the laboratory's Sustainable NREL program and its integration in the environmental management system, NREL protects and enhances the vegetation, wildlife, water quality, and natural resources; complies with environmental requirements; protects air quality; and encourages continuous improvement in environmental protection.
This is particularly important during a time of unprecedented growth—from Fiscal Year 2003 to Fiscal Year 2012, the population percentage increase was 116% and 134% for building square footage. NREL has several programs that:
- Mitigate greenhouse gases
- Increase water efficiency
- Reduce waste and prevent pollution
- Assist with and encourage green purchasing
- Support transportation infrastructure and efforts to reduce petroleum use.
NREL's Environmental Performance Report describes the laboratory's environmental management activities for 2011, including environmental compliance activities and status, environmental protection programs, and successes. Annual sustainability goals are strategized in NREL's Site Sustainability Plan and a summary of NREL's achievements and long-term sustainability strategies are presented in the Sustainable NREL Biennial Report FY 2010–2011.