Campus Master Plan outlines the next 30 years at the Laboratory

The Laboratory of the future is accessed by efficient mass transit, housed in sustainable buildings and powered by 100 percent renewable energy

October 19, 2022

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The Laboratory has already begun to modernize infrastructure, working toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, this new power substation replaced its 70-year-old predecessor and features air circuit breakers (right foreground), which are an environmentally friendly alternative to the oil circuit breakers used in the past. The substation provides power to much of the Laboratory, as well as to all of Los Alamos County.

For the first time in two decades, Los Alamos National Laboratory unveils its long-term Campus Master Plan, detailing its needs to strategize and modernize over the next 30 years. Founded nearly 80 years ago during World War II, today’s Laboratory employs 15,000 people on a campus of approximately 40 square miles encompassing just under 900 buildings and facilities. The average age of a given facility is 42 years. Fifty-six percent of Lab buildings are over 50 years old.

“The mission of Los Alamos National Laboratory is to develop scientific understanding and technological tools to address present and future threats to the United States and its people,” said Lab Director Thom Mason. “These threats could involve hostile countries, public health or the environment that sustains us. To do that, we must modernize our facilities to meet any and all challenges our nation could face, now and in the decades to come.”

The Campus Master Plan is an evolving framework describing the current condition of the campus, outlining projected needs and proposing solutions.

“The Campus Master Plan is a snapshot in time,” said Deputy Director for Operations Kelly Beierschmitt. “The plan is a living document developed as a communication tool for leaders within the Laboratory and with its federal stakeholders. It will be updated in response to inevitable changes in mission, policies or priorities.”

The Campus Master Plan is a separate document from the new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) that is being prepared by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which oversees the Laboratory.

The Campus Master Plan is organized in three increments: near-term (next 10 years), mid-term (next 20 years) and long-term (next 30 years).

Near-term plans, now through 2030: Upgrading aged buildings and infrastructure, demolishing old buildings and constructing new ones. Replacing aged internal-combustion fleet vehicles with electric models, ramping up solar energy, steam power and water reclamation.

Mid-term plans, 2031-2040: Increase sustainability through mass transit, sustainable building and landscape design, and renewable energy sources. Redesigned campus is pedestrian- and bike-friendly, with landscape design minimizing heat islands and supporting wildlife and pollinator corridors.

Long-term plans, 2041-2050: Net-zero carbon emissions; Lab powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

Within the timeline are plans for demolition and construction, sustainability and environmental stewardship and transportation. Specifics include:

Demolition and construction

  • A planned new gateway to the Laboratory (including a new transit center) that will give an improved arrival experience and reflect on the Laboratory’s history, landscape, culture and role on the national security stage;
  • The relocation of support and service functions out of the core area, which will free land for new construction and help to reduce congestion;
  • Substantial new demolition and construction at the western end of Pajarito Road;
  • The potential replacement of the Los Alamos Canyon (Omega) Bridge;
  • A plan to relocate shipping and receiving to a new 112,000-square-foot complex along East Jemez 0.5 miles east of intersection of NM 502 and NM 4 at TA-72.

Sustainability and environmental stewardship

  • The intention to convert to an all-electric fleet of vehicles with multiple charging stations;
  • A commitment to sustainable transportation (including increased use of mass transit and a complete streets approach to road and transport infrastructure design to encourage pedestrian and bicycle use);
  • A new photovoltaic (PV) array coming online in 2023/2024 which will provide 10 MW of solar energy;
  • A new initiative at the Laboratory’s steam plant, which will allow the capture of 0.5 trillion BTUs of waste heat per year to be reused to heat the campus or generate electricity;
  • A focus on sustainable and resilient design and building energy efficiency in new construction;
  • An emphasis on green space to limit “heat islands” of paved areas and increase the overall appeal of the campus.


The Campus Master Plan’s land-use strategies seek to reduce the need for on-site travel. A comprehensive transportation plan will be developed—executed in collaboration with internal, local and regional partners. Improvements would reduce single-occupant trips, improve transit opportunities and increase alternatives to car travel, such as better pedestrian access, bicycle and electric bicycle sharing programs, expanded and improved park-and-ride experiences, and full accessibility.

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