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Educating the Workforce on Sustainable Design at Sandia National Laboratories

Jack Mizner, Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico (SNL/NM) has incorporated sustainable design (SD) into the construction of its facilities since 1999. A total of five line items project and three general plant projects (GPP) have included SD elements in programming documents and the design process, and SNL/NM has received two DOE Pollution Prevention awards for it's efforts. Despite this success, confusion exists among the SNL/NM staff and the A/E contractors on the meaning and intent of SD and the project deliverables and expectations, including a required SD report. To address this issue, SNL/NM Facilities is conducting an in-house training, an "Integrated Educational Series" of workshops on Sustainable Design for SNL/NM and A/E contractor personnel. These personnel include architects, engineers, project managers, building owners and procurement and environmental professionals. The goal for the workshops is to educate individuals on the elements of sustainability to aid SNL/NM in making educated decisions in its building designs. Conducting the workshops in-house will reinforce SNL/NM expertise and focus on specific laboratory conditions and requirements.

The SD workshops will be held mid-day each month from April through October 2003. A separate, one-day workshop on energy simulations, conducted by a modeling expert, will be held in July. These workshops are a pilot educational series that may extend to other topic areas. Continuing educational credits for professional certification will be offered.

The first workshop is an introduction to SD focusing on the use of Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED™) and the Labs21 Environmental Performance Criteria (EPC). It will also review SNL/NM project requirements and review the requirements for an SD report. The workshop will be presented twice to ensure that all personnel involved in the design process will have a chance to attend. Subsequent workshops will deal with specific aspects of SD and focus on a more limited audience. The topics for the subject specific workshops are: Site Considerations, Commissioning, Energy Efficiency, Energy Modeling, Materials and Recycling, Water Conservation and Indoor Environmental Quality and Day Lighting.


The objective of this presentation is present the results of the SD workshops series, including feedback from the participants and the effort the training has had on incorporating sustainable design into current projects.


The findings will include:

  • An overview of each of the sessions, the type of attendees and the feedback results from the sessions.
  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of the training based on monitoring the progress of ongoing projects for the quality of project deliverables, such as SD, Waste Management, Energy Conservation and Construction Indoor Air Quality reports, and the incorporation of sustainable design features. This evaluation will focus on the fast track GPPs.

Labs21 Connection:

Because the intention is to provide a basic education and awareness to SNL/NM personnel and A/E contractors that design and construct building, the effect of these trainings is potentially far reaching. As such, the entire Labs21 Approach will be discussed as part of the training. Specific strategies will be implemented in projects as appropriate. That said, in the short term, the Labs21 strategies most germane to this effort are:

  • Assess opportunities from a "whole buildings" approach.
  • Promote energy and water efficiency Operation and Training Efforts


Jack Mizner, the Pollution Prevention Coordinator with Sandia National Labs, has over 18 years experience in both the public and private sectors in the areas of domestic and industrial water and wastewater treatment; groundwater treatment; hazardous and radioactive waste management and treatment; pollution prevention and sustainable design. His education includes a B.S. in Biology from GA. State and M.S. degrees in Ecology and Environmental Engineering from GA Tech. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of New Mexico and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.

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