ASHRAE Technology Award Recognizes Innovation at New NREL Building

January 16, 2013 – The new NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) Research Facility in Golden, Colorado has been named the recipient of a 2013 Technology Award from ASHRAE. These prestigious awards recognize outstanding achievements in the area of building design and technology integration that serve as a model to other ASHRAE members. The new NREL complex is the preeminent national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy and it was singled-out for recognition because of its success with building-integrated energy systems, including a flagship 8,600 ft2 SolarWall® air heating and ventilation system that spans the south façade.

Incorporating the SolarWall® technology into the new building was a natural fit because NREL had been involved with the development of the SolarWall® transpired collector technology, and had officially referred to it as being “the most reliable, best performing, and lowest cost solar heating system for commercial and industrial buildings.” The charcoal-colored SolarWall system was seamlessly integrated into two different south facades – around dozens of windows – where it will pre-heat the fresh ventilation air using the sun, reducing heating costs and GHG emissions.

NREL’s ASHRAE Technology Award is indicative of the emphasis that is now being placed on integrated energy solutions that enhance the overall operation of the building. Technologies like the SolarWall air heating and ventilation system are a valuable addition to any new building because they provide meaningful energy savings while augmenting the conventional mechanical system and addressing the fresh-air requirement.

The NREL facility will be the largest Net Zero building in the US with 800+ staff and aiming for LEED® Platinum Plus rating from the USGBC. It was designed to use 50% less energy than a standard office building, with an absolute energy use intensity (EUI) goal of 35 kBtu/ft2. There were a variety of integrated energy systems designed into the facility – from day lighting & occupancy controls, to radiant heating slabs and the SolarWall ventilation system – that all work synergistically together to achieve these impressive energy targets and help move these types of buildings into the mainstream.

About Conserval Engineering
The SolarWall® technology was developed by Conserval Engineering, who commercialized solar air heating around the world. SolarWall® systems offer large-scale energy reductions by heating the ventilation air required in commercial, industrial and institutional applications. They also generate up to 10 LEED® points and can also be combined with photovoltaic (PV) panels to create a hybrid system generating both heat & electricity. The SolarWall® technology has received commendation from both the U.S. Department of Energy and Natural Resources Canada, and has been used in 33+ countries around the world by private and public sector organizations like the U.S. Army, Canadian Government, NASA, Ford, FedEx, Auchan, Owens Corning, Wal-Mart and 3M. Conserval has offices in Buffalo-NY, Toronto-Canada, Paris-France and a distribution channel in 25 countries. Additional information is available at

Media contacts:
Conserval Engineering, Inc.
Victoria Hollick
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