Dr. Kim Trenbath is the acting innovation lead for systems technology research and development in the Buildings and Thermal Sciences Center at NREL. She oversees projects related to plug and process load efficiency, commercial building heating, ventilating, and air conditioning, automated fault detection and diagnostics, and advanced technologies that will make buildings more grid interactive. She leads the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings Alliance Plug and Process Loads Technical Team. She also serves as the NREL lead for the DOE-funded JUMP into STEM building science competition for university students. In addition to her work at NREL, Dr. Trenbath is an adjunct professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

Dr. Trenbath previously served as business manager for the Commercial Buildings Research Group for four years. Before joining NREL, she worked as an analyst in global power strategic sourcing, risk management, and wind energy business development. Her prior research involved in-cabin air quality, undergraduate students' understanding of scientific concepts, and break-in training.

Research Interests

Plug and process load/miscellaneous electric loads in commercial buildings

Integration technology for commercial buildings

Building fault detection and diagnostics

Zero energy schools

Power over Ethernet technology

Energy-efficient buildings workforce development


Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, University of Colorado

M.S., Atmospheric Science, University of Colorado

M.S., Industrial Engineering, West Virginia University

B.E., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University

Featured Work

Device-level plug load disaggregation in a zero energy office building and opportunities for energy savings, Energy and Buildings (2019)

Integrating Smart Plug and Process Load Controls into Energy Management Information System Platforms: A Landscaping Study, NREL Technical Report (2019)
A Guide to Zero Energy and Zero Energy Ready K-12 Schools, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Energy savings and usability of zero-client computing in office settings, Intelligent Buildings International (2018)

Evaluation of retrofit crankcase ventilation controls and diesel oxidation catalysts for reducing air pollution in school buses, Atmospheric Environment (2009)

View all NREL publications for Kim Trenbath.