The Science and Technology Facility (S&TF) is a cutting-edge research facility that includes laboratory space, office space, and a lobby. It houses nine laboratories for advanced materials synthesis, analysis, characterization, and support as well as the 10,170-ft2 Process Development and Integration Laboratory.
The S&TF is owned and operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, and located on NREL's South Table Mountain Campus. It was designed to accelerate renewable-energy process and manufacturing research for both near-term and next-generation technologies and to reduce the time delays associated with transferring technology to industry.
At NREL's 327-acre South Table Mountain campus, 177 acres has been placed in a conservation easement for county open space. Stormwater falling around the S&TF site is filtered and allowed to infiltrate the ground. New plantings are indigenous to the area and selected to thrive without a permanent irrigation system. Inside the building, water is conserved by indirect evaporative cooling as well as low-flow faucets, toilets, and urinals.
Energy-efficient features include extensive daylighting and shading, a variable-air-volume air supply and exhaust system, fan-coil units in laboratories, demand-controlled ventilation, an energy-recovery system, an efficient condensing boiler, a variable-speed chiller, indirect evaporative cooling, underfloor air distribution, and automatic lighting controls. The S&TF uses 41% less energy, by cost, than standard laboratory buildings, saving about $96,000 in operating costs each year due to energy efficiency features in the building. Additional thermal energy will be offset by a planned renewable fuel heating plant, which will utilize a wood-fired (biomass) combustion boiler to combust wood wastes and forest thinnings. The expected operation of this renewable energy system brings the overall annual energy cost savings to $119,600/yr or 51% cost savings.
The project team sought out materials with recycled content, regional origin, and low chemical emissions, and the contractor recycled more than 80% of the construction waste, by weight. All occupied areas—including open and closed offices, laboratories, and circulation spaces—are daylit.
NREL operates a shuttle service that circulates between NREL buildings and public bus stops. NREL also participates in a regional program to provide bus passes free to employees.