The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory’s fleet operations center is likely Idaho’s biggest auto repair shop. The shop maintains nearly 750 vehicles, which creates a number of environmental challenges. “Automotive maintenance shops lead the country in waste stream and potential exposure to employees,” said Marc Carroll, the former fleet operations center director. In the last decade the shop has focused on environmental improvements that could apply to fleets of any size. Last month, those efforts were recognized by Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne who presented the shop with an Idaho GemStars pollution prevention award. Carroll said changes at the shop have ranged from big-ticket items like converting 150 vehicles to natural gas — a move that cut nitrous oxide emissions by half and nearly eliminated particulate emissions — to things as simple as changing from aerosol cans to refillable bottles. Carroll estimates the dozens of changes have saved about $167,000 a year. Many changes, like switching to refillable bottles, were employee ideas. “That alone probably saves us thousands of dollars a year,” Carroll said.