As science and technology expand, we must ensure the world’s and nation’s brightest minds have access to capabilities and facilities. For the Department of Energy and its Pacific Northwest Site Office (PNSO), this translates to ensuring processes, procedures, equipment and facilities that are running safely and efficiently. While the scientists, engineers and researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory press the bounds of scientific knowledge, the staff of PNSO remain dedicated to their continued success.
In order to establish an environment that fosters innovation and addresses complex challenges, we need access to facilities and equipment that complement their work. We are transitioning from nearly 70,000 square feet of older space into new and specialized space. By consolidating, using a comprehensive campus strategy and by expanding and improving existing capabilities, we are able to reduce operating costs while being successful.
From a national security perspective, as threats vary from physical to digital, maintaining capabilities and improving systems is crucial. Developing and implementing a strategy focused on the growth and collaboration of laboratory capabilities has seen success as construction end on the Systems Engineering Laboratory (SEL), to be completed this spring.
As projects and experiments develop increased efficiency and reliability, energy distribution and management becomes more important. The first use of the SEL facility will foster new capabilities for lab staff and researchers, helping them better understand the performance of our nation’s electrical infrastructure with potential to reduce blackout occurrences and outage duration. On a local scale, the SEL will also house the laboratory’s Building Operations Control Center (BOCC). Within the BOCC, staff would monitor utilities of the core campus. This function helps promote energy and resource conservation while lowering operating costs. With the installation of new sensors and monitors, our level of assessment and analysis significantly increases . Additional uses of the facility include home appliance energy efficiency testing.
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Over the next year, further investment in the campus will continue as designs for additional facilities are finished and we progress into early phases of construction. These developments, along with the SEL, will expand PNNL. From energy production and storage, to grid management to national security, the importance of expanding our capabilities continues to increase.
For 2015 and beyond, the emphasis and development of capabilities that strengthen or expand the laboratories foundation for scientific research propel us forward, allowing us to take on the new challenges we face as a nation and develop new solutions that benefit our community, the nation and the world.