Environment and Materials Stewardship
NREL's sustainability programs reduce greenhouse gases, reduce waste and prevent pollution, and encourage green purchasing. Sustainability, successfully integrated with environmental management, protects and enhances the vegetation, wildlife, and natural resources on NREL's campus.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction
A leader in federal greenhouse gas (GHG) management, NREL was the first federal facility to become a partner in the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders program. In addition, the laboratory has played a critical support role in the development of federal guidelines for GHG accounting and reporting through DOE's Federal Energy Management Program.
NREL is committed to reaching carbon neutrality in Scope 2 GHG emissions by using onsite renewables and energy efficiency. When it's not possible to reach carbon neutrality through these means, NREL purchases renewable energy credits to offset any remaining Scope 2 GHG emissions.
NREL takes a lead role among federal agencies in reducing GHGs that contribute to climate change. We demonstrate leadership in GHG management by maximizing the use of energy efficiency practices and on-site renewable power. NREL continuously pursues new technologies and strategies to reduce GHG emissions associated with our operations.
For more information on NREL's GHG reduction goals, see NREL's Site Sustainability Plan FY 2016.
Waste Reduction, Pollution Prevention
NREL's waste reduction and pollution prevention programs support the goal of near-zero waste through a reduce/reuse/ recycle/re-buy philosophy, composting, the chemical management system and excess chemical inventory, and pollution prevention initiatives.
NREL promotes green purchasing, also referred to as sustainable acquisition, by:
- Implementing new policies, programs, and training that increase staff awareness and accessibility to sustainable products
- Providing resources that make it easy for purchasers to find information about green products and services
- Engaging in contracts with providers of goods and services that are consistent with Executive Order 13693.
Our procurement practices are consistent with all federal green procurement preference programs, including the purchase of environmentally preferable products that are:
- Manufactured from recovered (recyclable) materials
- Energy efficient (such as electronics and computing equipment that are EPEAT registered, ENERGY STAR-rated, etc.)
- Water efficient
- Non-ozone depleting
NREL has earned numerous environmental and sustainability awards from the White House, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn More