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Photo of a vehicle being fueled at a compressed natural gas station.

NREL's growing alternative fuel infrastructure will include compressed natural gas, ethanol 85, and electric vehicle charging stations.

NREL's highly replicable transportation infrastructure and programs are designed to significantly reduce petroleum use campus-wide through a number of ways, including increased staff use of alternative transportation, telecommuting, and onsite shuttles and preferred parking.

Petroleum Reduction

To reduce the amount of petroleum used throughout the campus, NREL focuses on four main aspects:

  • Fleet reduction
  • Alternative fuel consumption
  • Alternative transportation
  • Telecommuting and alternative work schedules
  • No Idling policy.

Fleet Reduction

Although NREL's campus size and population has more than doubled since 2010, NREL reduced the size of its fleet by eight to just 47 vehicles. The lab continues to look for ways to make more efficient use of the remaining fleet and reduce its fleet further.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

More than half of NREL's fleet is made up of Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV), including those fueled by E85 fuel (85% ethanol), compressed natural gas, and a combination of gasoline and electricity (hybrid vehicles). Since 2005, NREL's alternative fuel usage has grown 145%. For details on NREL's fleet performance, see page 34 of NREL's FY 2015 Site Sustainability Plan.

Alternative Transportation

Photo of an NREL employee participating in a vanpool.

NREL's Vanpool Incentive Program provides monthly vouchers for employees who participate in official vanpools.

NREL encourages staff to use alternative transportation when commuting to work and moving between facilities during the day by providing:

  • Free access to the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) public transportation with Ecopasses, which include unlimited regional, express, local, light rail, and Call-n-Ride services for NREL employees; and SkyRide service to and from the Denver International Airport
  • RTD bus stops conveniently located near NREL's South Table Mountain Campus
  • Vanpool vouchers that cover part of employee costs
  • A rideshare matching service
  • Incentive parking spaces for high-occupancy vehicles
  • Conveniently located bicycle racks, lockers, and repair stations
  • Campus infrastructure that prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle travel over motorized vehicles.

NREL employees are the leaders of Jefferson County in the Denver Regional Council of Governments' Annual Bike 2 Work Day event—a statewide campaign promoting bike riding as a viable commuting option.

Telecommuting and Alternative Work Schedules

Staff can participate in both NREL's telecommuting and alternative work schedule (AWS) programs. These programs reduce the number of days that staff members commute to the lab. Approximately 19% of NREL staff telecommutes at least one day per week, and approximately 25% of NREL staff work an AWS.


Teleconferencing and videoconferencing capabilities are available to all staff, reducing the need to travel to attend meetings. This not only reduces the number of cars on the road, but also reduces the number of airline tickets purchased.

Parking and Shuttles

Convenient parking is provided for high-occupancy vehicles such as carpools and vanpools at NREL's new parking garage and near other NREL buildings where feasible. The parking garage also reserves 90 preferred spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

In addition to parking, alternative-fuel shuttles transport staff to and from bus stops and local RTD hubs. Shuttles also transport staff to facilities located within the South Table Mountain campus and leased facilities at the Denver West Office Park reducing the amount of single occupant vehicles trips throughout the day.