National Renewable Energy Lab


U.S. Department of Energy

General Contractor:

Mortenson Constructio


Smith Group Arizona Group


Smith Group Arizona Group

Project Duration:

NREL’s 71,347-ft2 Science and Technology Facility houses nine laboratories for advanced materials synthesis, analysis, characterization, and support, as well as a 10,170-ft2 process development and integration laboratory (PDIL). As a Laboratory for the 21st Century (Labs21) partner, NREL set aggressive goals for energy savings, daylighting. The S&TF is the first federal laboratory building to receive a platinum rating, the highest in the LEED Green Building rating system.

Energy costs for this building are estimated through computer simulation to be 41% lower than those of a comparable facility designed to ASHRAE standard 90.1 (1999), for an estimated savings of $96,000 per year. The estimated annual energy savings is 10,648 million Btu. The cost of the Labs21 contribution to the project was $67,000 over 3 years. This represents a 2.3-year simple payback. Energy-saving features include these:

  • Variable-air-volume supply and exhaust systems for all laboratory and office areas
  • Fan-coil units in laboratory spaces
  • Low-flow chemical hoods and laminar-flow fume hoods
  • Staged exhaust fans brought on according to building exhaust needs
  • Exhaust air energy recovery and process cooling water energy recovery
  • Indirect/direct evaporative cooling
  • Expansion of the central plant in the adjacent building with a high-efficiency chiller and boiler to serve the S&TF load
  • Underfloor air-distribution system in the office area with demand-based ventilation controls using carbon dioxide detection and monitoring
  • 100% daylighting in office areas, good daylighting in laboratories, and lighting control throughout.The project included 21 different piping systems, including 2 toxic gases in a ventilated raceway.