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Photo of Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman standing in front of the Habitat for Humanity house, wearing a hard hat and speaking to the volunteers.

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman met several NREL summer interns at NREL's Habitat for Humanity house in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. These interns and dozens of NREL employees constructed the nation's first net zero energy home built for the Habitat for Humanity program.
(Credit: Jack Dempsey, NREL/PIX 14021)

Photo of a scientist working with instruments and machinery.

NREL researchers use hot-wire chemical vapor deposition to produce high-efficiency PV devices.
(Credit: Richard Matson, PIX 14602)

Photo with a view of the Science and Technology Facility, or S&TF, and the Solar Energy Research Facility, or SERF on campus. Both buildings are tucked against the foothills of Colorado.

The Science and Technology Facility at NREL, pictured to the right of the Solar Energy Research Facility, was completed in 2006. The facility was designed to help accelerate the development and commercialization of promising new solar energy technologies.
(Credit: Patrick Corkery, NREL/PIX 14765)

Solar Decathlon 2007

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2007 Solar Decathlon. We welcome teams from around the United States and the world who have come to participate in this unique and important competition. Sponsorship of the Solar Decathlon is a natural fit for NREL, America's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

Our laboratory in Golden, Colorado, is home to the National Center for Photovoltaics, where world-class scientists and engineers explore new methods and materials for turning sunlight into electricity. Many of those researchers work in the Science and Technology Facility, which this year was designated one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly places to work in the United States by the U.S. Green Buildings Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building program. The building is the only U.S. federal facility to earn a LEED platinum rating, which is the highest rating awarded.

Researchers in the NREL Center for Buildings and Thermal Systems also work in laboratory facilities that showcase passive solar design and energy efficiency features. The Thermal Test Facility, which uses only 40% of the energy of a conventionally built laboratory, serves as a test bed for high-efficiency lighting, space conditioning, water heating, and daylighting.

NREL works to nurture a wide range of technologies that benefit Americas economy, national security, and environment. Our research portfolio extends beyond solar and building design into wind power, biomass power, biofuels, geothermal energy, hydrogen, fuel cells, distributed power, advanced vehicle design, and basic energy science.

The laboratory celebrated its 30th anniversary in July 2007. In those 30 years, we have successfully developed materials and technologies that have been instrumental in reducing the cost of solar electricity by more than 80%. In the buildings arena, NREL has developed software that helps architects design cost-effective, energy-efficient structures and technologies such as "smart" windows that darken in bright sunlight to help keep buildings cool and comfortable. By combining energy efficiency with renewable energy technologies, we are working with the nation's homebuilders to advance the concept of "net zero energy buildings"—structures that produce as much energy as they use on an annual basis.

NREL is an exciting place to work, with researchers exploring the cutting edge of energy science and engineering to meet one of the greatest challenges of our time—developing clean, affordable, secure sources of energy. Solar Decathletes will likewise help the nation shape its energy and architectural future. We at NREL join with our fellow Solar Decathlon sponsors in wishing these student teams continued success throughout the competition and in meeting the challenges that await them.

NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by Midwest Research Institute of Kansas City, Missouri, and Battelle of Columbus.