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Sandia’s Weapons Evaluation Test Laboratory receives green building certification


AMARILLO, TEXAS — Sandia National Laboratories Weapons Evaluation Test Laboratory (WETL) at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, has received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) building certification. The award is given by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“This is a significant award,” says G. David Jones, manager of the department that operates WETL. “It shows that our building is environmentally friendly, not only in the way that it was constructed, but also in how we’ve maintained it to meet clean environment standards since it was built.”

USGBC awards certification only after a facility meets stringent requirements that include building design, efficient utility use, and maintenance activity — down to the types of cleaning materials used.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) laboratory.

The $22 million state-of-the-art facility, designed to conduct systems-level non-nuclear tests on nuclear weapons and components, opened in October 2004, replacing a 40-year-old-laboratory at the site. It houses more than $90 million worth of testing equipment and consists of modern offices and lab facilities for about 20 staff members, a state-of-the-art video conference room, transition high-bay work space, and sufficient dock space for receiving and shipping. The architect for the project was Hays, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, Inc. of Roanoke, Va.

WETL, which is operated by Sandia for the NNSA, is programmatically associated with NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship program. Its mission is to support the timely evaluation of the “state of health” of the U.S. stockpile through subsystem level testing in a laboratory environment in accordance with predefined test plans.

The LEED Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their building’s performance. LEED promises a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health, including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.


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