NREL's Education Center offers a variety of program topics and experiences for students, youth groups, and adult groups addressing renewable energy and energy efficiency innovations and introducing the work of NREL.
Engaging students in science and engineering activities opens the door for study and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. A range of activities for elementary and secondary school students captures the imagination and curiosity of young scholars and encourages them to pursue careers in science and engineering. Hands-on learning experiences provide fun and imaginative ways to use inquiry while learning about renewable energy and energy efficiency with certified science educators. Programs are tied to Colorado's common core academic standards and 21st century learning skills.
Watts Up with Electricity?
Students, grades 4-5, learn how electricity is generated or converted and discover the relationship between magnetism and electricity. In addition to a multimedia presentation, students experience hands-on activitiessuch as hand-crank generators, solar power experiments, and wind farm modeling.
Exploring Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Students, grades 6-8, are introduced to how energy is currently produced in the United States and the scope of Americans' annual energy use. Students learn how NREL researches and develops renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and transfers this knowledge to companies and manufacturers to address the nation's energy and environmental goals. Activities include photovoltaic (solar) panel experiments, testing the efficiency of different lighting options, and constructing a wind farm model.
Renewable Energy Technologies and Careers
NREL employs a wide range of technical and non-technical professionals to advance research and development in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Students, grades 9-12, are introduced to cutting-edge research being conducted at the laboratory and to a variety of science, technology, and mathematics career paths.
Energy in Today's Global Society
Students, grades 9-12, are introduced to ongoing energy-related environmental problems. Students are then given an introduction to renewable energy research and technology being developed at NREL and how these technologies can have a beneficial impact.
NREL's Living Laboratory: An Introduction to Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Integration Research
NREL employs a wide range of technical and non-technical professionals to advance research and development in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Community college, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers, are introduced to cutting-edge research at the laboratory and to a variety of science, technology, and mathematics career paths. They learn about renewable fuels and power, market applications, and economic impacts.
Community Youth and Scout Groups
NREL staff and volunteer energy docents lead renewable energy and energy efficiency programs for student and community groups. Programs include an introduction to NREL and discussions about innovations in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Renewable Energy Adventures
What is renewable energy? How does it work? Scouts explore the world of renewable energy and energy efficiency, learn how to make smart energy choices, and reduce impacts on the environment.
Adult Community Groups
Energy Citizens: Renewable Energy Overview
Where our energy comes from and how it is used is evolving in response to changes in the environment, advances in technology, and energy costs. Program participants explore NREL's research and development activities, current applications of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, and energy systems integration.
Sustainable NREL Walking Campus Tour
NREL exemplifies environmental sustainability throughout its operations. Visitors learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency research as well as see for themselves how the campus is demonstrating clean energy technologies, reducing waste, and eliminating atmospheric pollution. The Sustainable NREL Walking Campus Tour is held the third Friday of each month from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. The tour is a vigorous, outdoor walking tour, so visitors are urged to wear comfortable walking shoes and to dress for the weather. The tours start at the NREL Education Center and include the Research Support Facility, NREL Parking Garage, and Central Detention Pond. Participants must be 18 or older, a U.S. Citizen, and have photo ID. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Contact Sarah Barba at 303-275-3023 to check availability and make a reservation.
Power Lunch Lecture Series/After-Hours Lecture Series (Monthly)
NREL's Power Lunch/After-Hours Lecture Series highlights cutting-edge research at NREL and topics of interest to the community. Visit the Education Center Events Calendar for information on upcoming lectures.
Schedule a Program
To schedule a program, or for additional information, contact Sarah Barba at 303-275-3023. Reservations must be made at least one month in advance. The maximum group size is 30 students to 3 chaperones; the minimum group size is 15 students to 1 chaperone.