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CAER's New Renewable Energy Building Off to an Exciting Beginning

UK CAER's first LEED-certified laboratory

CAER broke ground in October on what will become the university's first LEED-certified laboratory. The $19.8 million renewable energy laboratory will allow the Center to expand research devoted to Kentucky's growing renewable energy industries, including biomass and biofuels, electrochemical power sources (like capacitors and batteries), and distributed solar energy technologies.

Architects, engineers, and researchers were on site at the press conference/groundbreaking discussing and demonstrating what will go into making the 43,000 sq. foot lab UK's first LEED-Gold laboratory building. The facility will be a living laboratory with interpretive displays and activities for school children, visitors and the general public related to the building's energy consumption and the technologies and research that will be conducted there.

The facility is being funded by a competitive grant won last year from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act's (ARRA) NIST Construction Grant Program. The award consisted of $11.8 million in federal funds, with matching resources of $3.5 million provided by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and $1 million from UK. An additional award of $3.5 million in state ARRA funds has also been provided by the Department of Energy Development and Independence to achieve LEED certification and insure this new laboratory is a model for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Groundbreaking Speakers with Shovels
The day's speakers included (l to r): State Senator Tom Jensen; University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd, Jr.; CAER Director Rodney Andrews; Chief Facilities Management Officer, NIST, Stella Fiotes; Governor Steve Beshear; Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry; Kentucky Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo; CAER Board Member and Kentucky House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins (EMCEE).

Also attending were representatives from Argonne National Lab, as the laboratory will complement and create important collaborations with the recently announced Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center to be located adjacent to the facility. An agreement is in place with the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the shared use of the new facility, with portions of the laboratory purposely designed and specially equipped to accommodate capacitor and battery manufacturing research and development.

Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Laboratory