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Facilities & Operations



ORNL's building stock is diverse, with a mix of new and old buildings whose occupants have widely divergent needs. Goals are to demolish excess facilities, target renovations for energy conservation and pursuant Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, implement 100% advanced electrical metering, and improve indoor air quality. 

ORNL aims for 15% of its buildings to be rated as high performance sustainable buildings (HPSB) by 2015 and 100% of its buildings to achieve HPSB over time. The Laboratory has developed cost estimates and established a template for future HPSBs. With 11 of the 22 required buildings having achieved HPSB status so far, ORNL is on track to meet its 2015 target.

ORNL has installed over 500,000 square feet of white, highly reflective roof using materials ranging from modified bitumen to single-ply and metal roofing systems. Reflective roofing is incorporated into new building plans. In FY 2011 alone, we completed an additional 100,000 square feet in new cool roofs.

The For more information on ORNL’s efforts to achieve sustainable buildings, see the June 2011 SCI newsletter.

LEED Certified Buildings 

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building performs across environmental metrics including energy savings, water efficiency, COemissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. ORNL achieved one million square feet LEED buildings on site in 2008, a first for Tennessee and DOE.

The LEED for New Construction Rating System is designed to guide and distinguish high-performance commercial and institutional projects. ORNL had thirteen LEED-certified buildings at the end of FY11. Three of those buildings, the Multiprogram Research Facility, the Guest House and Melton Valley Support Facility (7995), are LEED gold-certified, and another two, the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences and Building 3625, are LEED silver-certified.  ORNL expects two additional buildings to achieve LEED Gold by FY 2015.  All new construction is specified as LEED Gold in the facility development process.

The goal of LEED for Existing Buildings Rating System is to maximize operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts. LEED for Existing Buildings addresses whole-building cleaning and maintenance issues (including chemical use), recycling programs, exterior maintenance programs, and systems upgrades.

Building 1059 was the subject of a pilot effort to obtain LEED Gold Existing Building Certification. This building, built in 1992, is 6,998 square feet in area.  The building was energy efficient for its time but was retrofitted so that it can continue to serve as a model of energy efficiency for similar buildings. 

The SC Newsletter’s December 2011 issue highlighted the DOE Environmental Sustainability (EStar) Awards that “honored ORNL for documentation of the Building 1059 renovation process and the building’s certification as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Gold. Documentation of the methods used in renovating 1059 will streamline the certification of other building renovations.”  ORNL also won “Best in Class” award for the retrofit of 1059 and LEED-EB status in 2010.

Renovation of Building 3156 has produced ORNL’s first net-zero-energy building (NZEB) with zero net-energy consumption and no carbon emissions.  It is also the first DOE NZEB and first commercial building to be retrofitted to a NZEB.  Renovations greatly reduced the building’s energy use, and a nearby solar array provides energy to the grid that offsets the remaining power used by the building.  See the April 2010 SC Newsletter on Building 3156 for more information. 

Here is a comparison between Building 1059 and 3156.

Greenhouse Gas Management

Executive Order 13514 calls for federal agencies to improve environmental, energy and economic performance and directs all agencies to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 28% and scope 3 by 13%.  These goals are to be realized by 2020 from a FY 2008 baseline.  The challenge for ORNL is to reduce GHG while responding to a steadily increasing demand for research operations at critical energy-intensive facilities, such as the National Center for Computational Sciences.

Energy Star Labeled Buildings

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of EPA and DOE helping to save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Two ORNL buildings have earned the Energy Star label: