I recently visited the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, CO near Denver. The US Dept of Energy has several such laboratories and research centers spread throughout the country. Most of them welcome visitors during normal business hours. For a full listing, click here and then scroll down to the “Labs & Technology Centers” section.

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In my case, I learned several unexpected things about renewable energy and energy efficiency.

  • Insight into when it makes sense to use LED lighting vs CFL.
  • Perspective on the vast untapped energy waiting to be used in sunlight, wind, and waves.
  • Better understanding of how trees and landscaping can help reduce a building’s heating and cooling needs.
  • Just to name a few.

None of them have an application for immediate problems I’m trying to solve this week, but I believe those little nuggets of knowledge will make me a better energy manager in the long run, and will come back to me at just the right moments in the future in situations I haven’t even anticipated yet.

My advice: carve out a morning or an afternoon and visit an energy lab near you. It will get your creative juices flowing, deepen your expertise, and renew your perspective on what you do.

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