There’s just something about a field trip. Remember as an elementary student packing into a school bus and heading off to a museum, the zoo or the state capital to learn in-person rather than through a book or a computer screen?
Well that’s exactly what Paul Raab, Tim Streeb and Ashley Campbell and I did on Tuesday with our “field trip” to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the country’s only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies
Our visit served several purposes: In addition to doing a little research and relationship-building for a client, we also got to learn about some of the groundbreaking research taking place in our own backyard of Golden, Colo.
After all, at Linhart PR, I like to think we pride ourselves in seizing learning opportunities when they present themselves, especially when it comes to an industry that will prove so crucial to Colorado—and the country — in the coming years.
We toured several impressive buildings on the NREL campus including their solar research labs and their newest and most energy-efficient building, the Research and Support Facility (RSF), which just opened in June.
We tend to geek out when it comes to sustainability, so we thought you might enjoy a few fun facts about the RSF:
- The RSF has a LEED Platinum rating (one of just a handful in the U.S.) The building is expected to use 50% less energy than if it were built to the existing commercial building code.
- Reclaimed materials used to build and furnish the RSF include wood pine trees killed by beetles for, recycled runway materials from the now-closed Stapleton airport, even sunflower seeds (which when compacted look a lot like marble) are used to make the entry way counter.
- A few reasons the RSF is so energy efficient:
100% of the workstations are day lit. Light enters through the windows and are reflected onto the ceilings and walls with light-reflecting devices.
The entire building is complete with 42 miles of radiant piping, which uses water for cooling and heating rather than forced air. Interestingly enough, people have become so accustomed to the sound of forced air, that they actually mimic the noise with a sound device to fill the silence!
The RSF’s office spaces come complete with low-set, modular work stations, which improve airflow. No need to holler over the cubicle. What’s more, all workstations are located within 30 feet of a window and the employees have laptops, not desktop computers, which saves in energy.
Big thanks to Marcus Giron (pictured in the photo) at NREL for the expert tour. For more information about NREL and the awesome work they’re doing there, visit http://www.nrel.gov/