As part of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center Enterprise, Tech Center Research Park in Newport News is privileged to have neighbors who are not only dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge but are also leading the charge in sustainability. Among these remarkable individuals is Aubrie Davie, an Energy and Sustainability Specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, commonly known as Jefferson Lab. Aubrie’s tireless commitment to sustainability has had a profound impact on our community, both environmentally and socially.
At Jefferson Lab, the pursuit of sustainability isn’t just a choice; it’s a responsibility. Davie emphasizes the importance of acting responsibly, given the facility’s size and its extensive resource consumption. For instance, in 2022, the lab utilized a staggering 205,000 megawatt hours of electricity to operate the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF), a DOE Office of Science user facility that supports the research of more than 1,800 nuclear physicists worldwide. By putting these numbers into perspective, we can better understand the monumental efforts required to minimize their environmental footprint.
One of Aubrie’s areas of expertise and particular focus is equipment sourcing. Instead of opting for new equipment for each experiment, she encourages the reuse of equipment from previous experiments. Her mindset aligns with a national shift that began a decade ago, emphasizing the downstream impact of materials and the embodied carbon footprint. It’s all about understanding the environmental impact of each component and making choices that minimize harm.
Aubrie Davie’s efforts extend to a comprehensive approach that considers the entire lifecycle of materials. The team constantly seeks ways to reduce landfill waste by exploring options for reusing equipment or sending it to facilities that can repurpose it. This approach, which includes collaboration between national labs and university labs, is essential to maintaining a sustainable circular economy.
In the absence of a flea market-style equipment catalog, inter-lab equipment sharing largely relies on word-of-mouth within the scientific community. It’s an intricate network of awareness within the national lab system, where information about available equipment spreads organically. Internally, Jefferson Lab employs a stock room website where teammates can find supplies or underutilized equipment, reducing the need to purchase new items unnecessarily.
Aubrie Davie’s dedication to sustainability has not gone unnoticed. The lab has received several awards, including GreenBuy gold level awards sponsored by the Energy.gov Office of Environment, Health, Safety, and Security, and recognition from the Global Electronics Council within five product categories of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). These accolades underline their commitment to environmentally conscious product choices, even when relying on a massive amount of electronic services.
Importantly, Aubrie’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the workplace. She passionately believes in leaving a better world for future generations, including her own three-year-old daughter. This dedication is a testament to the power of individuals to effect change on both a professional and personal level.
TCRP is fortunate to have neighbors like Aubrie and institutions like Jefferson Lab, which prioritize sustainability as a fundamental value. Their proactive efforts are inspirational, reminding us of all of the importance of responsible resource management and environmentally conscious choices. With passionate individuals like Aubrie leading the way, we can create a more sustainable future.
Learn more about Aubrie HERE.