NREL Engineer Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

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Golden, Colo., May 20, 1998 — A senior engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will receive a major international award for his career-long contributions to the design of energy efficient buildings.

Douglas Balcomb has been selected to receive the 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Passive and Low-Energy Architecture (PLEA) network at the group's annual meeting June 1 in Lisbon, Portugal. Balcomb also will deliver the meeting's keynote address, "The Coming Revolution in Building Design."

Balcomb was chosen for the PLEA honor for his contribution over 20 years to the literature in the field of passive solar, low-energy building design. He also is the principal developer of the Energy-10 computer software package, which makes it easier for architects and engineers to design and build energy efficient residential and commercial buildings. Energy-10 won the Progressive Architecture Award from Architecture Magazine in 1997.

In his keynote speech Balcomb will focus on the future. "I believe there is going to be a sea change in the way people design buildings," he said. "We've got to change the whole process and culture of building design and construction," including removing the "institutional barriers" to smarter building design.

Balcomb cited the example of tying an architect's or engineer's fee to the energy performance of buildings as an incentive to design low-energy buildings.

Balcomb is a member of NREL's Buildings and Thermal Systems Center.