Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has named John D. Elliott as its first Chief Sustainability Officer, a new position that underscores the importance of energy efficiency and sustainable practices within the same institution where scientists have pioneered resource-sparing technologies for decades.
In his new position, reporting to Deputy Laboratory Director Horst Simon, Elliott will provide organizational and technical leadership for Berkeley Lab’s overall sustainability operations and serve as its main spokesperson on such issues.† His appointment is a recognition that sustainability goals are of utmost importance at Berkeley Lab, which in January selected UC’s Richmond Field Station site as the location of its planned second campus.
“Doing the science that improves the way the world harnesses, stores, and uses energy is an incredibly important part of the Berkeley Lab mission," says Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos. "To walk the talk we must use our own facilities to show the world what can be achieved.† John’s role will bring focus to this area, especially as we look to our future initiatives, like the Richmond Bay Campus.† I am hopeful that this will be a way for us to take much of what our own researchers are discovering and put it into practice both in new buildings as well as our existing infrastructure.”
Elliott is wrapping up a five-and-one-half year stint as Director of Energy and Sustainability at UC Merced, where he has been in charge of similar efforts, beginning that job in 2006 shortly after many of the new campus’ first buildings were completed. His appointment marks his return to the Bay Area, where he had lived and worked since he was an undergraduate at Stanford and earned a masters degree in Energy and Resources at UC Berkeley.† Before leaving for UC Merced, Elliott served in a variety of environmental engineering, energy efficiency, and energy software roles at private Bay Area firms in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Mateo.
He is the first Chief Sustainability Officer to be named among the 17 national laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The posts have been established in prominent businesses as diverse as Dow Chemical, Verizon, and Google.
As a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Elliott worked with a project sponsored by Berkeley Lab that assisted Native Americans in developing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.† He has continued to tap Lab expertise ever since. "As an energy efficiency consultant, I relied heavily on data developed by Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD)," says Elliott.
At UC Merced, Elliott helped to develop what the university calls its" Triple Zero Commitment" -- zero net energy, zero landfill waste, and zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In addition to a mandate that every new building on the campus consume half the energy of comparable university facilities in the state, the campus located in California’s sun-drenched Central Valley now features a 1-megawatt photovoltaic array located on eight acres. When the sun is shining, the new facility routinely provides about half of the entire university campus’s electric power.