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Pacific Northwest National Lab

About Pacific Northwest National Lab

PNNL is focused on DOE's missions in science, energy, environment, and national security. PNNL researchers routinely integrate across fundamental science and applied technology programs, engaging partners across the country to take on big challenges. These efforts also deliver significant economic contributions to Washington State, the Northwest region and the nation. The dedication of our people to push the frontiers of science and engineering in order to solve some of the nation's greatest challenges is a hallmark of PNNL's 50 year history.


PNNL is a leading laboratory in building technologies, employing more than 100 experts in lighting, advanced and transactive controls, re-tuning and retro-commissioning, building modeling, building energy codes and standards, development and implementation, building energy simulations, cost-effectiveness and market analyses, and training of building energy codes compliance software including Energy Expert and Facility Energy Decision System.

As one of two laboratories supporting DOE's Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, PNNL provides technical analyses of the minimum energy efficiency for numerous categories of consumer appliances and commercial equipment.

Core capabilities in electrical engineering, systems engineering, and integration allow DOE to call upon PNNL to develop transactive control solutions for continuous, automated monitoring, diagnostics, and control of building operating systems and energy consuming devices. These result in energy-aware, self-commissioning building systems and make buildings fully ready to engage with the wider electricity grid.

Lighting engineering, lighting design, materials science, system engineering, and market transformation are part of PNNL's solid-state lighting R&D portfolio. Researchers evaluate advanced lighting products, control systems, and related technologies in real-world environments, supporting emerging technologies as well as federal, commercial, and residential programs.

Mechanical design and engineering, power and electrical engineering, and systems engineering capabilities unite in the Building Energy Codes Program, contributing to the development of building energy codes, technical assistance for adoption, compliance, and program evaluation.

Finally, PNNL is recognized for its experience and expertise in conducting economic analysis for emerging technology market adoptions and analyzing complex socioeconomic and environmental issues on a regional, national, and global scale.


PNNL's buildings technologies capabilities are deployed across multiple laboratories, including:

  • Lighting Metrology Laboratory: PNNL maintains a nationally accredited lighting test laboratory and staff expertise to effectively evaluate advanced lighting systems and their applications. Evaluations and technology guidance often do not require testing but do make use of PNNL's extensive experience in assessing manufacturers' information and test data. When testing is needed to verify performance, the PNNL accredited Lighting Metrology Laboratory offers wide-ranging capabilities to perform photometric, photoelectric, long-term performance, and stress testing.
  • PNNL Lab Homes Energy Efficiency Research Facility: PNNL has sited and equipped two identical 1,500 square-foot manufactured homes — the "Lab Homes" — for experiments focused on reducing energy use and peak demand. In each study, the Baseline Home serves as a control while the Experimental Home is used to test new technologies. Occupancy is simulated in each home to account for human activity. The Lab Homes serve as a project test-bed for PNNL and its research partners who aim to achieve highly energy-efficient homes. The homes are fully instrumented with controllable circuits, dual heating systems, environmental sensors, and a weather station. Researchers and sponsors can access results and reports remotely as new energy saving technologies are tested.
  • Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC): PNNL's EIOC in the new Systems Engineering Building brings together industry software, real-time grid data, advanced computation, and cyber security into a functional control room where we model and monitor the impact of building demand response and renewable energy on grid stability.
Photo of a hand and several clips holding up a square piece of glass that shows four lighted squares in the middle.

A more efficient host material for the blue phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode (OLED) — designed, developed, and tested by PNNL scientists — are improving their efficiency by at least 25% and leading to much more efficient white lighting. Photo by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.