News Release: NREL Chooses Mortenson To Complete RAIL Facility

July 22, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has chosen Mortenson to build a new research lab on the South Table Mountain Campus in Golden, Colorado. The 15,700-square-foot Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) will provide multipurpose lab space for cross-disciplinary research at the intersection of chemistry, materials science, bioscience, and engineering in support of a breadth of energy efficiency and renewable energy research areas, including 5,500 square feet of flexible lab space.

“We are looking forward to another successful partnership with Mortenson to enhance the research facilities at NREL,” said Associate Laboratory Director for Facilities and Operations Dan Beckley. “This much-needed lab space will help us meet the nation’s need for creative solutions to today's energy challenges.”

Mortenson previously partnered with NREL to complete the Science and Technology Facility in 2006 and both phases of the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility, the first in 2010 and the second in 2011. In total, these projects encompass nearly 95,000 square feet of research space constructed by Mortenson Denver.

“Through our ongoing work on the South Table Mountain Campus, we’re helping NREL fulfill its mission as the nation’s leading center for renewable energy research,” said Gene Hodge, vice president and general manager at Mortenson Denver. “The work performed at NREL is critically important to developing new energy technologies that benefit both the environment and our economy, and we’re proud to support those efforts.”

The total budget for the RAIL project is $19.5 million, with $15.5 million awarded to Mortenson under a design-build contract. RAIL is designed by Davis Partnership Architects and will serve as an example of flexible, sustainable, high-performance building design. Energy-efficient technologies such as heat recovery evaporative cooling and infrastructure to support future renewable technologies will be included in the design. The electrical infrastructure will additionally accommodate a future microgrid, allowing the building to run from completely renewable sources in the future.

This facility will be the first of its kind on the NREL campus. A typical process for constructing a research laboratory is to build the facility around the specific user research. This facility, however, features a highly flexible and adaptable design that will allow for many different user groups to utilize the various spaces. The RAIL also boasts exceptional collaboration space both indoors and outdoors that will allow for innovative brainstorming to take place amongst the researchers. 

The project is expected to break ground in September 2021.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.