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Greening EPA

National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL)

Photo of EPA’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery, Alabama.

75,201 gross square feet (GSF)

Energy Intensity:
FY 2020: 261,736 Btu per GSF
48.2% reduction from FY 2003

Water Intensity:
FY 2020: 36.73 gallons per GSF
59.3% reduction from FY 2007

Montgomery, Alabama

Located on Maxwell Air Force Base, NAREL provides radiological monitoring data to support rulemaking and radiological emergency response activities. The Environmental Radiation Ambient Monitoring System is the only nationwide environmental radiation monitoring network in the United States. NAREL also supports Superfund and enforcement activities with laboratory and field measurements and technical assistance for radioactive and hazardous chemical (mixed waste) contaminants. The facility includes a state-of-the-art radioanalytical laboratory and office space.

Sustainable Features

  • Twenty-five 4.5-kilowatt solar lighting fixtures in the facility’s back parking lot illuminate the space, making travel safer after dark. The lights are motion- and light-sensitive; they store the power needed to operate for approximately five days in two 100-amp batteries and reduce power to 50 percent when the lot is empty. The solar parking lot lights generated an estimated 27,375 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in FY 2020.
  • An air handler condensate recovery system collects about 800,000 gallons of water per year for the facility's cooling tower, which accounts for 65 percent of the facility's water use.
  • The laboratory has eliminated all forms of single-pass equipment cooling.
  • An infrastructure replacement project (IRP) includes new laboratory and office areas, as well as two new air handling units capable of providing heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the entire main laboratory facility. It also includes a new exhaust fan sized to serve the main laboratory fume hoods. The IRP will ultimately reduce the number of fume hoods by 25 percent and save an estimated 2.7 billion British thermal units per year.
  • No landscape irrigation water is used at the laboratory, as grasses and shrubs are climate-appropriate and survive on natural rainfall.

For more information, visit the NAREL website or the EPA Facility Contact List.