Scaling Up to a Carbon-Neutral Research Campus

John Elliott, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is implementing a strategy and building capabilities to meet carbon neutrality for its campus, which is dominated by laboratories and specialized research facilities. These efforts are informed by federal sustainability requirements, University of California sustainability policies, and aggressive climate change mitigation targets in the state of California. The Chief Sustainability Officer for Berkeley Lab will provide an overview of recent progress and strategies coordinated across areas of new building construction, building performance data access, building energy management and commissioning, building retrofits, renewables, and transportation. He will also quantify climate change mitigation targets across each of these areas. Further, he will emphasize the coordination of three approaches involving technical strategy, employee engagement, and research collaboration (Living Laboratory). While every site is unique, this talk will provide a structured approach that can inform a broader discussion about the challenging task of carbon neutrality for laboratory-dominated campuses.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify policies at the institutional, state, and federal levels that drive sustainability efforts at a major research institution.
  • Develop a framework to prioritize specific sustainability initiatives and relate them to organization-wide climate goals.
  • Evaluate the complementary roles of technical, organizational, and research efforts to achieve sustainability goals.
  • Explain key challenges and opportunities to meet carbon neutrality in energy-intensive research campuses.


John Elliott is Chief Sustainability Officer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is responsible for directing and implementing the Lab's sustainability strategy. He has broad and detailed experience in building efficiency, building energy management, renewables, water efficiency, electric vehicles, employee engagement, waste diversion, and toxics reduction. He was previously Director, Energy and Sustainability at University of California, Merced.


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