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Planning and Space Management Protecting and enhancing the NIH environment

Environmental Management System

An environmental management system is the process used by an organization to manage, review, correct, and improve the organization’s approach to business. Employees are asked to consider how they affect the environment every day.  An EMS offers a structured way to incorporate environmental considerations into day-to-day operations; it promotes continual improvement of the environment and human health.

As the steward of medical research for the nation, the NIH leads the way in pursuit of knowledge to improve health and save lives. Protecting human health and the environment is an important part of the NIH mission. An EMS assists the NIH in considering the environmental impacts of its activities and setting goals for reducing or mitigating those that are adverse. The EMS also complements the NIH mission of improving the health of the nation. Finally, an EMS empowers individual employees to make environmentally friendly decisions in their day-to-day activities.

 On this page:

Why has NIH implemented an EMS?
How is an EMS structured?
How will the EMS benefit NIH?
How does this affect employees?

Will all the ICs be participating?
What is the employee's role?
At what point in the EMS development process is NIH?
Where can I find further information?
Is promotional material available?

 Why has NIH implemented an EMS?
The mission of NIH makes this a clear choice for helping to improve the environment and the nation's health.  Additionally, Executive Order 13148, Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management, required the NIH to fully implement an EMS by December 31, 2005:

"Environmental management considerations must be a fundamental and integral component of policies, operations, planning, and management.”

The Department of Health and Human Services fully supports implementation of the EMS at appropriate HHS facilities and has developed a Department-wide framework as a guide.

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How is an EMS structured?
Most EMSs follow the structure provided by ISO 14001. This structure is commonly referred to as Plan Do Check Act and requires the demonstration of measurable continual improvement. Click here to learn about information required in an EMS.

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How will the EMS benefit the NIH?
The EMS will help each member of the NIH understand their role in the environment, and to see how what they do at the NIH affects the environment. It provides for responsibility, ownership, and accountability of actions and related impacts. It contributes to a workforce that is more aware, better trained, more motivated, and more enthusiastic. Other benefits of EMS implementation include:

Improving the environmental condition
Improving public health
Minimizing accidents and problems
Reducing redundant paperwork
Achieving cost savings
Facilitating compliance

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How does this affect employees?
The NIH will demonstrate its environmental commitment in accordance with EO 13148 by developing an environmental policy, an EMS, and a systematic environmental auditing program. NIH employees will need to be familiar with the NIH environmental policy, and aware of the potential environmental impacts of their jobs. Upper management will be affected in that they will be involved in reviewing and approving the components and policies of the EMS.

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Will all the ICs be participating?
Yes, all the ICs on campus will be involved. The Executive Officers are currently forming the NIH EMS Committee. This committee will formally approve the components of the EMS, including goals and policies. EMSs are also being developed at Research Triangle Park in NC, Ft. Detrick, MD and Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton MT.

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What is the employee’s role?
Employees affect the environment:

They also can be involved in the EMS. There are currently eight “focus” teams that are working on many of the components of an EMS. These teams are focused on the areas where the NIH has the greatest potential to impact the environment:

Air Emissions Team: Stationary Sources
Air Emission Team: Vehicles, Equipment, and Transportation
Storm Water Management and Grounds Maintenance
Wastewater Discharge Quantity and Quality
Waste Minimization and Toxicity Reduction
Energy and Water Conservation

The teams will perform the following:

Examine NIH activities and the potential environmental impacts of our activities.
Recommend goals and metrics
Identify environmental awareness training needs for the NIH community.
Identify communication, structure and responsibility needs.
Determine operational controls
Perform audits
Prepare annual report

If you are interested in participating in this process, please contact: Terry Leland (, at (301) 496-7775.

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At what point in the EMS development process is NIH?
The NIH is in the process of implementing the EMS. This website will be populated in the near future with more specific information on how each of the components of the EMS is being implemented at the NIH. Please check back often!

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Where do I find further information?

More information on the NIH Environmental Management System, NEMS, may be found at

Contact the EMS Coordinator, Terry Leland (, at (301) 496-7775 or visit any of the following links:

For information from the EPA on EMS:

For information from the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive on EMS:

For information on the HHS EMS Program:

For the HHS Departmental EMS Framework:

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Is promotional material available?
The NIH EMS logo is available for use in promotional material in several formats.  Right click on the image you want and save it as a picture.

JPEG Hi Resolution      JPEG Hi Resolution      GIF file                              GIF file

This page last updated on Jul 25, 2007