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Fifteen Years of Energy Conscious Laboratory Design with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Stephen K. Loos, AIA NCARB, and John Priebe, AIA, Abo Cervantes Loos Priebe (ACLP) Architecture, Inc.


We anticipate development of a poster which will graphically depict the evolution and development of our specialized laboratory facilities on the NREL South Table Mountain and Wind Test Site campuses.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is charged with finding the sources of renewable energy that will foster U.S. energy independence and conservation. It has expanded these objectives to include a commitment to sustainable, environmentally-responsible, and energy-conscious design. This dedication, however, has not changed the fact that NREL must live within tight project parameters and challenging funding mechanisms. Simply, it must achieve its green successes like everyone else - within tight budgets. Two Principals of Abo Cervantes Loos Priebe (ACLP) Architecture, Inc. will discuss 16 years of design and construction experience helping NREL meet these challenges head on. This unique involvement will allow us to trace the evolution and growing sophistication of laboratory energy conservation over this short but significant amount of time.


With 16 years of direct experience and 4 specialized laboratory buildings either completed or (in one case, in construction documents), ACLP intends to present an overview of this design experience.

  • We will begin with a review of the parameters of the projects—site conditions, design guidelines, budgetary parameters, schedule implications, energy-conservation objectives, etc.
  • We will follow this with brief descriptions of the specialized laboratory objectives/functions to be accommodated in each facility
  • We will summarize the energy conservation techniques utilized for each of the projects.
  • We will summarize the energy conservation results achieved for each of the projects.

Labs21 Connection:

  • Minimize overall environmental impacts.
  • Protect occupant safety.
  • Establish goals, track performance, and share results
    for continuous improvement.
  • Employ a range of energy and water efficiency strategies.
  • Measure energy and water consumption and track emission reductions.
  • Build with "green" construction materials.
  • Promote energy and water efficiency efforts.


Stephen K. Loos, AIA NCARB, is an award-winning architect, planner and urban designer who has practiced architecture for over 30 years: 20 years on the East Coast and 12 years in Colorado. Mr. Loos has been recognized nationally for his work on large office complexes, conference centers, corporate training centers, housing facilities, hotels, and retail facilities. He is recognized in the architectural community as a leader of regional design, a philosophy which promotes contextual and sustainable architecture. He helped found and is the current President of the Colorado Community Design Network (CCDN), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting design quality across the State. He is a LEED™ Certified Professional and has been deeply involved with "green design" for residences, office buildings, and laboratories.

A founding Partner of Abo Cervantes Loos Priebe (ACLP) Architecture, Inc., he has provided design leadership for all of the Firm's work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) since 1992. His NREL experience includes both new and renovated laboratory facilities including the Alternative Fuels User Facility, the Outdoor Test Facility, the Science and Technology Facility Conceptual Design, the System Interconnection Testing Laboratory and the Thermal Test Facility which was awarded the Commissioner's Honor Award for Excellence for Sustainable Development, Jefferson County Design Excellence Award Program (1997) and the ASHRAE Technology Award (1999). Other recent design awards include the Volan Design Office Interior Design, Boulder, Colorado, Design Merit Award, AIA Colorado North Chapter (1998); IBM-Thornwood Corporate Technical Institutes, Thornwood, New York, Honor Award, AIA Baltimore Chapter (1986); and Democracy Plaza Office Complex, Bethesda, Maryland, Award of Merit, National Commercial Building Council (1991).

His work stresses environmentally responsible design which focuses on the context of the project, the incorporation of sustainable, energy-conscious elements, indoor air quality, and the means to enhance the day-to-day human performance for the facilities' "users"—the overall "health" of the environment as a contributor to productivity and well-being.

John W. Priebe, AIA, also a founding Partner of Abo Cervantes Loos Priebe (ACLP) Architecture, Inc., has practiced architecture in Colorado for more than 30 years, dedicating the last sixteen years to a focus on laboratory design. In that time, he has maintained several long-term relationships with clients in both the private and public R&D sectors.

Since 1986, he has worked in close collaboration with NREL on numerous laboratory facilities to successfully create energy-efficient environments for the research and development of alternative energy sources and energy efficiency in the built environment. Some of the facilities Mr. Priebe has been involved with include the Building 16 Lab Renovation, the Outdoor Test Facility, the Science and Technology Facility, the Alternative Fuels User Facility, the Field Test Laboratory Building, the System Interconnection Testing Laboratory, and the Thermal Test Facility which received the 1999 ASHRAE Energy-Efficient Design Award.

Mr. Priebe has also completed numerous laboratory projects in collaboration with private pharmaceutical and R&D companies located in Colorado, Michigan, the Bahamas, and Taiwan. The long-term relationships between these clients and Mr. Priebe have afforded him the opportunity to be part of many expansions and "spin-offs" over the years, resulting in his developing progressive solutions to laboratory design in a rapidly advancing culture.

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