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PIMA President Visits National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Posted By Alex Wellman, Friday, April 8, 2016
Updated: Thursday, April 21, 2016

A few weeks ago, PIMA President Jared Blum visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at its 270 acre main campus in Golden, Colorado. NREL is the primary research laboratory for renewable and energy efficient technologies in the United States, and is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy.

NREL is home to 3 national centers including the National Bioenergy Center, National Center for Photovoltaics, and the National Wind Technology Center. The laboratory also has three collaborative research facilities including the Energy Systems Integration Facility, Process Development and Integration Laboratory, and the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility.

NREL seeks to reduce private sector risk in early stage technologies and enable investment in the development of critical renewable and energy efficient technologies. Various partnership agreements allow private sector companies to work with NREL on fair terms to ensure both parties can benefit from the research. In 2015, NREL signed 236 such agreements for a total of $33 million in value. NREL has also won 58 “R&D 100” awards from R&D Magazine, an award often referred to as the “Oscars of Invention.”

Another large focus of NREL is its buildings research program that “focuses on improvements in residential buildings, in commercial buildings, in building equipment and components, building energy analysis tools, manufacturing, and in lighting and appliance standards." NREL is also a nationally recognized leader in buildings research combining renewable energy with innovative technologies to significantly reduce energy consumption in buildings.

The buildings themselves at NREL also serve as living laboratories. While on the tour, PIMA President Jared Blum learned that many of the research facilities were constructed with a thick layer polyiso in the walls to achieve an R-49 thermal rating. In fact, one of the facilities at NREL has been certified as the most energy efficient building of its size in the world!

PIMA will continue to support prudent research in energy efficient technologies that seek to improve the quality and comfort of out built environment and reduce harmful carbon emissions.



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