Los Alamos leader named a DOE Sustainability Champion

Laboratory has reduced energy use by 8.3% since 2015, and water consumption by 20% since 2007

September 7, 2021

Monica Witt

Los Alamos, N.M., Sept. 7, 2021–Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Sustainability Manager Monica Witt has received a 2021 Department of Energy (DOE) Sustainability Award for being a Sustainability Champion. Under her leadership, the Laboratory has reduced energy use by 8.3% since 2015 and water consumption by more than 20% since 2007. (See video here.)

Witt’s “efforts and commitment to sustainability have been essential in ensuring DOE’s continued success as a federal leader in sustainability,” said Scott L. Whiteford, director of the DOE’s Office of Asset Management, in a congratulatory email.

Witt, who has led the Laboratory’s Sustainability Program for 10 years, has focused investments on the site’s building portfolio to include replacing inefficient lighting systems and upgrading building controls to increase energy efficiency and improve facility operations.

Looking toward the future, she is working with the Los Alamos’ High Performance Computing division to reduce the use of potable water for cooling the Laboratory’s next generation of supercomputers and to develop a strategy to reduce water use across the Los Alamos campus.

“With innovative solutions for water efficiency, the Sustainability team contributes to the Lab’s ability to compete for new and ongoing mission work and displays our overall commitment to New Mexico and the world we live in,” Witt said.

To improve energy use in buildings, Witt worked closely with the Laboratory’s Commissioning group to develop a recommissioning program that focuses on optimizing the performance of heating and cooling systems in more than 40 facilities. She’s now developing a strategic plan for construction and design specifications for “zero-energy ready” facility construction to reduce the Laboratory’s future carbon emissions.

The DOE’s awards are designed to recognize “exemplary achievements that advance sustainability at DOE sites and national laboratories,” such as those by Witt and her team.

Diversify the energy portfolio and plan for a zero-carbon campus

Witt also led a multi-year effort with support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to identify optimal locations for on-site renewable energy, and leads the development of a Zero Carbon Emissions Plan for the Laboratory to reduce carbon by 50% by 2025 when compared to emissions in 2008.

“The DOE’s recognition of my work to reduce energy and water use is very meaningful,” said Witt. “I’m most proud of the people I’ve brought into the Sustainability Program over the last decade and the teams we’ve developed to make sustainable improvements.” She added that the Laboratory has installed charging stations for personal and government electric vehicles on the campus and developed the My Green LANL and My Green Office certification program.

The DOE awards ceremony was held virtually on Aug. 19.

Sustainability team members chat under one of the Laboratory’s solar workstations. From left to right: Shannon Blair, Genna Waldvogel, Cindy Dilworth, Jesse Freedman and Monica Witt. Not pictured are Dalinda Bangert, Olivia Bell, Joseph Klose and Adam Collins.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.