NREL Research and Innovation Laboratory / GoldenCO
What does the design-build of a flexible lab facility look like?

Mortenson completed its fourth project with NREL adding a new research laboratory facility on the South Table Mountain Campus of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, marking the fourth time Mortenson has completed a project at this innovative facility and boosting NREL’s capabilities for early-stage research.

The 15,700-square-foot Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) provides 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.

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 for NREL by Mortenson.

Mortenson served as the Design-Builder of the RAIL project with design provided by Davis Partnership Architects and RFD. The flexible, sustainable, high-performance building design features energy-efficient technologies such as heat recovery evaporative cooling and infrastructure to support future renewable technologies. The electrical infrastructure can also accommodate a future microgrid, enabling the building to run from completely renewable sources.

This facility is 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 allows for many different user groups to utilize the various spaces. The RAIL also boasts exceptional collaboration space both indoors and outdoors that allows for innovative brainstorming to take place amongst the researchers. 

Facts And Figures

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

15,700 square foot laboratory with 5,500 square feet of flexible lab space

Completion date: 2023

Delivery Methods


The Team