U.S. Department of Energy Buys Bio for Energy Security
Sandra Cannon, U.S.
Department of Energy, Office of the Biomass Program
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) poster session on buying
biobased products for energy security demonstrates the links between
purchasing biobased products (a large majority of which are construction
materials), energy security, development of biorefineries, reduced
environmental impact, and enhanced occupant safety.
Some of the biobased building construction and operating materials
that are readily available are adhesives, laminated beams, boards,
cabinets, carpet, coatings, concrete, cushions, fiberboard, furniture,
hydraulic fluids, insulating foams, lubricants, panels, roofing,
siding, and more.
The posters show the types of biobased materials available, the
benefits derived from purchasing biobased materials, feedstock used
to manufacture biobased products, and the processes used to convert
biomass (wood and wood residues, agricultural residues, and other
plant-based materials) into products typically made from petroleum.
If the display board lends itself, we will have biobased construction
materials affixed to the board as well.
DOE announced its Buy Bio Initiative with a nationwide teleconference
in 2004. "Buy Bio" is the purchase of biobased products.
Biobased products are any product made substantially from plant
or animal matter instead of synthetically produced chemicals or
petroleum-based products. Biobased products are available as adhesives,
construction materials, fibers, papers, packaging, fuel additives,
inks, landscaping materials, lubricants, paints, coatings, plastics,
solvents, and cleaners.
DOE's mission is energy securityreducing the nation's reliance
on foreign oil imports and stimulating the biorefinery industry.
With the Buy Bio Initiative, DOE enhances the nation's energy security
by substituting domestically produced biobased products for fossil
fuel products derived from imported oil and natural gas. Biorefineries
need to follow the lead of the fossil fuel industry, which produces
high value products with the same feedstock used to produce fuel.
Purchasing biobased products stimulates the demand for the high
value products needed to economically produce fuel.
DOE Labs "LEED" by example. DOE's voluntary Buy Bio Program
stems from Executive Order 13134 and anticipates the federal regulation
soon to be implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The legal driver for all federal agencies to purchase biobased products
is the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act Section 9002, which
- Federal agencies will purchase certain designated products with
- The USDA will designate the products.
- The program will be similar to that for recycled products.
- Recycled content takes precedence over biobased content.
Biobased materials help labs be sustainable and reduce energy use
where it counts-at the source. By replacing a finite resource (petroleum)
with a readily renewable resource (biomass from plants), biobased
materials reduce non-renewable energy use, minimize overall environmental
impact, and enhance occupant safety.
The purpose of the poster session will be to introduce the attendees
to not only the types of biobased building construction and operating
materials available but the importance of transitioning to biobased
materials to achieve energy security.
Sandra Cannon manages the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's
Buy Bio Project-the technical assistance arm of DOE's Buy Bio Program.
In this role, Ms. Cannon fosters technology transfer between the
potential DOE sites wanting to transition to biobased products and
the experts/DOE counterparts who have already transitioned. One
of the major product categories ripe for transition is biobased
construction materials. Biobased construction materials help minimize
overall environmental impact and protect occupant safety.
In addition, Ms. Cannon also manages the Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Projectthe
technical assistance arm of DOE's EPP Program. Biobased content
is one of the numerous attributes evaluated to identify whether
a material is environmentally preferable. In this role, Ms. Cannon
advises DOE sites, and when requested other government agencies,
businesses, and nonprofit organizations, on how to establish EPP
programs that build EPP practices into operations, how to train
staff and test products, how to influence the manufacture and pricing
of environmentally preferable products, how to conduct targeted
outreach campaigns to increase environmentally preferable purchasing
of products and services, and how to gather data for program evaluation.
Prior to her present role, Ms. Cannon was manager of the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory's own EPP Program and one of the original
founders of the Pollution Prevention Program at the Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory. As early as January 1993, she wrote the charter
for Pacific Northwest's Recycling Committee, which expanded the
vision of the program from office product recycling to setting an
example as a world-class environmentally sustainable laboratory.
For her initiatives in the area of environmental preferability,
Ms. Cannon has been honored with three White House Closing the Circle
awards, two White House Closing the Circle honorable mentions, and
five DOE Pollution Prevention awards.
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