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With over 20,000 employees and contractors working at the NIH Bethesda campus, outreach and communications are key elements to the success of the NEMS. Changing the way that we conduct our activities means that all employees must understand their role in the NEMS. There are many ways that we are working to inform employees and the public of the NEMS, as well as specific environmental programs, including a list serve called GREENSERVE to publicize events and educate employees. We recommend that you sign up for the listserve to keep current on the NEMS and specific environmental initiatives and events. Click on the tabs above for specific outreach materials which you may find informative or use for continuing to communicate the NIH's efforts towards sustainability.
Recurring Events
Earth Day - April
Paper Free Day - May
Energy Awareness Month - October
America Recycles Day - November
Environmental Initiatives
The annual Green Champion Award Winners
Green Commuting Information

2013 Outreach

Green Purchasing Training
All 1102s, 1105s and purchase card holders and approving officials must complete an initial Green Purchasing training and complete refresher training every two years.  This training covers recycled content products, energy-efficient products and renewable energy technologies, alternative fuel vehicles and alternative fuels, bio-based products, environmentally preferable products and services, and non-ozone depleting substances.
The NEMS awareness training which all NIH employees are encouraged to take, is designed to briefly inform employees of their roles and responsibilities within the NEMS. This training reviews the NIH Environmental Policy, describes how the NEMS works, and discusses ways to reduce your impact on the environment.

Information Briefings
Information briefings are held for NIH staff and community throughout the year.  These briefings focus on NIH’s environmental impacts, particularly energy use, and how individuals can take steps to minimize their environmental and other impacts.  To schedule a briefing please contact the NEMS Manager.

NEMS Website, Information FY2013
The NEMS manager uses the NEMS Website to promote all environmental issues, including awareness of energy and water conservation issues, and the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan.  The website had 162,199 visits in FY13 from 19,833 unique visitors.

NEMS Newsletter, Information FY2013
The NEMS Newsletter is sent out to the NIH community monthly and can be accessed via the Greenserve or archives.  Monthly topics in FY13 included energy conservation awareness, greening your lab, recycling, NIH Freezer initiative, NIH FreeStuff, chemical redistribution, solvent recycling, the President’s Climate Action Plan, GHG reduction, Earth Day, healthy buildings, powering IT down, and updates on the NIH Energy and Water Conservation Program.

NIH Record Articles
The NIH often uses newsletter articles as a means of outreach and informal training for its employees. 

NIH Freezer Initiative
The FY13 portion of the NIH Freezer Initiative promoted both better maintenance of existing ultra low temperature (ULT) freezers and replacement of older models. In FY2013 Phases 2 and 3 of this initiative were implemented and 51 ULT freezers were procured. If these freezers replaced older less-efficient freezers, then the NIH will have reduced annual electricity consumption by 130 megawatt-hours (MWh), which translates to an approximate saving of $14,500.

Sustainable Facilities (SF) Toolkit
NIH partnered with GSA to develop the SF toolkit for sustainable labs.  The SFTool’s laboratory space teaches how to conserve energy and reduce waste while educating visitors about sustainability.  It addresses everything from countertop lab equipment to fume hoods to incubators. 

ULT Freezer Guide
NIH partnered with UC Davis and DOE to create Everything You Wanted to Know
About Running an Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) Freezer Efficiently but Were Afraid to Ask.  This guide describes procedures to operate ULT freezers efficiently and to improve sample access.  It is designed for laboratory staff (lab managers, principal investigators (PIs), research staff, etc.), repair technicians, building operators, and procurement and property officers. It is meant to be valuable for a user of a single freezer, as well as site managers and policy makers.  This guide provides opportunities for energy conservation and risk management.

HHS Ignites
NIH received a grant for $10,000 to right-size HVAC systems in existing buildings.  This work will be carried out in FY2014.

Green Outreach at the NIH Research Festival, October 9-12, 2012
The NEMS Sustainable Labs Working Group and the NIH Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosted a table at the NIH Research Festival in the Special Exhibitors Section.  Outreach included talking one-on-one with researchers on greening, poster with information on green practices for the laboratories, energy conservation, and informational handouts.

Green Labs Fair October 23, 2012
This year's Green Labs Fair theme was "Go Green to Save Green."  The fair consisted of guest speakers, and a vendor and special exhibits show. 

Speakers discussed how we can green our buildings and research laboratories, and reduce energy and water consumption. The vendors highlighted scientific products and practices that can reduce energy consumption, toxicity, and green NIH labs and wallets. Special exhibits by Institute/Center (IC) Green Teams, the NIH/ORF Division of Environmental Protection, the NIH/ORS Division of Occupational Health and Safety, the NIH Environmental Management System (NEMS), and many others promoted recycling, energy-reduction, and reduction of toxic chemicals and reagents in the lab.   More than a dozen ICs and 40 vendors were involved in this show.

America Recycles Day Events, November 13-16 2012
NIH observed America Recycles Day, with two related events during the week of November 13-16.  The first event was a Non-Accountable Electronics Collection Drive the week of November 13 – November 16.  Non-accountable computer-related paraphernalia and small electronics were collected at 21 NIH building locations.  NIH collected 1.7 tons of non-accountable electronics.

The second event was the placement of recycling information and collection tables, on November 15, at 15 NIH building locations.  Staff was on hand at each of these buildings to answer questions about NIH’s Recycling Program. These tables collected used eyeglasses, used cell phones, and used, clean blankets and towels for local animal shelters.

NIH FreeStuff, Launched April 2, 2013
This project was developed by NIAID and then launched to the entire NIH community.  It is a  user-friendly and comprehensive web-based tool that gives scientists and administrators a place to post, search and exchange free supplies and equipment in order to promote the reduction of energy, waste, and operational expenses.

In addition to reducing costs, FreeStuff reduces the negative environmental impacts of unnecessary waste and product generation.  The reuse of equipment and supplies reduces energy otherwise used in the manufacturing, transportation, and disposal of new equipment and supplies.

NIH Earth Week, April 22-26, 2013
NIH celebrated Earth Day by hosting a series of Earth Week Events, culminating with a large Earth Day event held on Thursday, April 25, 2013 in conjunction with “Take your Child to Work” day.  Over 2000 employees and children attended.  This is a highly successful and fun outreach event to educate employees on green issues such as energy conservation, and to drive behavior change.
Monday, April 22, 2013:
• Promoted NIH’s commuting options at the NIH’s Transhare Program Web site at:
• Bayview Campus Earth Day Festivities.  Details at:
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
• Promoted the New Green Terrace on its three year anniversary.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
• Almost everything commonly generated at NIH is recyclable. Promoted the NIH Recycling Program information.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
• The NIH Earth Day Celebration at the Bethesda Campus.  Details at:

Friday, April 26, 2013
• Spring is the perfect time for green gardening. Don’t forget to plant the native tree seedling you picked up at NIH Earth Day!

Week of April 22-26
• NIEHS Earth Day Festivities.  Details at:

Entire Month of April
• Recycling and Reuse Collections, Executive Boulevard locations.  Details at:

Bike to Work Day on May 17, 2013
This event helps to educate the NIH community about the energy benefits of biking to work.  NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and his wife Diane Baker, both wearing NIH Bicycle Commuter Club cycling shirts, were among the 477 NIH’ers who bicycled to work.  NIH also placed first in the region as the employer with the most Bike to Work Day participants for the 8th consecutive year.

NIH Safety, Health, and Wellness Day August 28 2013
Employees participated in a day of safety, health, wellness and environmental activities.

NIAID Paper Free Awareness Campaign Sept. 24 – 26, 2013
 Green Team set up informational tables and encouraged staff to go paper free for the day and learn strategies for overall paper reduction.

NIH Composting Pilot, Kick-Off September 2013
The NIH, in coordination with Eurest Dining Services, is piloting post-consumer compost collection in the Building 10 cafeterias. NIH will expand this option to the remaining cafeterias on campus if this pilot is successful. The amount of solid waste generated from food service operations will be dramatically reduced as a result of this effort. There are signs listing acceptable and non-acceptable items. Food waste, napkins, and biodegradable cups and containers will all be composted as a result of this effort.  Employees eating in their office can stop by Building 10, B1 or 2nd floor cafeterias to compost appropriate leftovers.

Composting reduces energy consumption from waste disposal activities.  DEP has generated awareness of this effort through information on the NEMS Website, in the NEMS Newsletter, signage in Building 10, and through a global email.

NEMS News Archive