Cincinnati, Ohio - Archive
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center
This page houses older environmental information about EPA's Andrew W. Breidenback Environmental Research Center (AWBERC) in Cincinnati, Ohio. View the laboratory's current facility page.
- In 2005, the original cooling towers that served the AWBERC facility were replaced with five new energy- and water-efficient cooling towers.
- An energy-efficient, small capacity packaged boiler, installed in 2001, was used for summer steam requirement. This means that large boilers do not have to be run during the summer, saving energy and money.
- AWBERC's original boiler burners (installed in 1974) were replaced in 2000 with more energy-efficient, low nitrogen oxide burners that are able to operate on dual fuels (natural gas and #2 fuel oil).
- Two new centrifugal chillers that are 20 percent more efficient were installed in 1999.
- An 800-ton chiller was installed in 1999 to replace an existing absorption chiller, eliminating the need to run a boiler that produced steam for absorption chiller cooling during off hours.
- The HVAC system was rebalanced in 1998 to reduce fume hood exhaust air volumes (an approximate 20 percent reduction in fume hood exhaust). This project also eliminated the introduction of unconditioned humid air and outside air infiltration, reducing the need to overcool/reheat for dehumidification.
- A central building automated heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) control system was installed in 1995 to replace the original (1970s) system. This system monitors and controls the operation of all mechanical systems in the AWBERC facility, and includes a night "setback" feature that conserves energy during off-peak hours. In 2000, the system was expanded to allow for more efficient operation of mechanical systems and the remote monitoring and control of equipment at outlying facilities.
- In 1987, the Research Containment Facility installed a heat recovery loop that recovers heating and cooling energy from the exhaust air stream and transfers it to the supply air stream, thus saving heating and cooling costs.
- In July 2004, EPA developed the AWBERC facility's first water management plan (PDF) (18 pp, 796K, About PDF).
- Two rooftop cooling towers were installed in 1990 to provide recirculating, condensing water for the computer room and environmental chambers, thus eliminating the need to use once-through city water. An additional cooling tower was installed in 1998, rated at 150 tons, to serve 45 packaged air conditioning units that use once-through city water.
- A reverse osmosis, deionized water system for laboratories replaced the original distilled water system. The new system produces high quality laboratory water more efficiently and eliminates the need to run a large boiler after hours solely to produce distilled water for laboratories.
- Automated level controls were added to the cooling towers to maintain the proper amount of water in the main cooling tower, thus reducing water consumption.
- In late fiscal year (FY) 2008, EPA finalized a contract for 17 million kilowatt hours (kWh) worth of renewable energy certificates (RECs), or "green tags," to offset electricity consumption at the Agency’s facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio, including AWBERC. This purchase partially offset these facilities' electricity consumption in FY 2008, offset 100 percent of their electricity consumption in FY 2009, and partially offset their electricity consumption in FY 2010. (The remainder was offset through the Agency's blanket contracts.) Procured through the Defense Energy Support Center, this contract supported wind power generation in Texas.
- September 2007 marked the final month of a green power contract that had offset electricity consumption at EPA’s Cincinnati, Ohio, laboratories for the previous six years. At that point, to ensure that Annex 2 offset its electricity use, EPA arranged for a 90-day extension of its Cincinnati green power contract to offset the electricity consumption of the entire Cincinnati campus through the first quarter of FY 2008. Through this contract, which began in October 2007, EPA purchased 4.2 million kWh of wind power, or three months of estimated annual electricity consumption at the Agency’s Cincinnati laboratories.
Waste Reduction and Recycling
- Between February 2001 and November 2003, approximately 183 tons of paper products generated at the Cincinnati campus were recycled. Five different grades of paper are recycled on a continuous basis, including computer paper, colored paper, newspaper, and cardboard. File stock (folders), books (paperback and hardback), magazines, slick-coated paper, envelopes, and phone books were recycled at a rate of 57 percent.
- Between April 2002 and November 2003, approximately 1,100 pounds of batteries were recycled. Seven different types of batteries are recycled on a continuous basis, including alkaline (zero mercury added), lead acid gel, nickel cadmium dry, nickel metal hydride, lithium, lithium ion, and mercury button cell. The alkaline battery recycling rate was 70 percent.
- All fluorescent lighting throughout the facility is recycled when its life cycle has expired. Fluorescent tubes contain mercury, which can pose environmental concerns if not recycled or disposed of properly. During 2003, approximately 1,500 tubes were recycled.
- All of the petroleum products used for the facilities' mechanical operations are collected and recycled. During 2003, approximately 500 gallons of oil were recycled.
- All toner cartridges are recycled into remanufactured cartridges. Approximately 350 cartridges are recycled annually.
- Collection bins are placed in the cafeteria and other common areas to collect glass, aluminum, and plastic for recycling.
- The Cincinnati campus established a reuse center for gently used office supplies. Personnel are encouraged to place unwanted items on the shelves and others are welcome to help themselves, rather than purchasing new supplies.