Energy and Water Conservation

Water conservation is a very important objective at Fermilab. We must capture and conserve as much water as possible for cooling our scientific equipment. Because of our robust industrial cooling water (ICW) system, we are able to avoid or minimize the use of treated, domestic water for tasks such as cleaning, fire protection and landscape watering. As part of the federal sustainability effort, Fermilab has decreased the use of potable (drinkable) water by over 50 percent. We achieved that level of water conservation by a combination of conservation measures, improved equipment such as new and efficient cooling towers at our Central Utility Building, and by aggressively repairing underground pipes.

An important benefit of the surface water component of our ICW system is approximately 250 acres of open water and even more wetlands, which provide habitat for abundant wildlife and a diverse plant community.

Energy conservation is an essential part of Fermilab’s ability to successfully conduct its intensive research in the field of particle physics. Fermilab’s accelerators and experiments have pioneered the application of superconducting technologies that increase energy efficiency dramatically. For instance, the Grid Computing Center, which is used to analyze the scientific data, was awarded Energy Star certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Also, new facilities are designed to follow the Department of Energy’s guiding principles for sustainability to help minimize greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Buildings are metered for energy and water use. Tornado sirens and stop signs are powered by small-scale solar panel installations. Fermilab continues to use expertise and financing under DOE’s Energy Savings Performance Contracts program to leverage opportunities to assess its facilities, look for renewable energy applications, and implement new energy and water conservation measures.