inside of renewable energy lab
NREL Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility / GoldenCO
How can industrial process design make facility construction smooth?

Mortenson joined H+L Architecture and Merrick & Company in a Design-Build contract with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to build the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility (IBRF). At IBRF, researchers worked on improving the efficiency of the production of ethanol from biomass, specifically corn stover, which is all parts of the corn plant except the kernel. Research also took place on ethanol production from wood chips and switchgrass.

Mortenson achieved a LEED Gold certified building for NREL, which was a huge challenge given the large energy loads from the industrial equipment.
Mortenson provided industrial process design assistance to NREL and managed all of the industrial equipment and process control and instrumentation engineering and installation, totaling over $4 million.

Furthermore, NREL expanded their research capability at the South Table Mountain Campus in Golden. Mortenson constructed a new office building and renovated existing laboratories. For the support of sustainable initiatives, NREL nominated Mortenson for the State of Colorado’s Environmental Leadership Program. Mortenson won a Bronze Level award in 2010.

Facts And Figures

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Completed June 2010


8,000 square feet

Delivery Methods


The Team


Silver Hard Hat Award - Mountain States Construction (McGraw Hill), 2006

Sustainability Award - American Institute of Architects (AIA) - Arizona Chapter, 2007