Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)


FLC Region

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1 Bethel Valley Road
Mail Stop 6196
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6196
United States

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Laboratory Representative


Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the Department of Energy's largest science and energy laboratory. Managed since April 2000 by a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle, ORNL was established in 1943 as a part of the secret Manhattan Project to pioneer a method for producing and separating plutonium. During the 1950s and 1960s, ORNL was an international center for the study of nuclear energy and related research in the physical and life sciences. The creation of the Department of Energy in the 1970s led to an expansion of ORNL's research program into areas of energy production, transmission, and conservation. By the turn of the century, the laboratory supported the nation with a peacetime mission that was just as important, but very different, from the days of the Manhattan Project.

ORNL has a staff of more than 3,800 and approximately 3,000 guest researchers who spend two weeks or longer each year in Oak Ridge. ORNL funding for FY2003 exceeded $1 billion for the first time. UT-Battelle provides more than $1.25 million annually in support of math and science education, economic development and other projects in the greater Oak Ridge region.

ORNL is in the midst of a $300 million plan to provide a modern campus for the next generation of great science. A unique combination of federal, state and private funds is building eleven new facilities. Included in these new facilities will be the Functional Genomics Center, the Center for Nanophase Materials Science, the Advance Materials Characterization Laboratory, and the Joint Institute for Computational Science.

With the world's highest flux reactor-based neutron source (the High Flux Isotope Reactor) and the world's most intense pulsed accelerator-based neutron source (the Spallation Neutron Source), ORNL provides neutron scattering capabilities unavailable anywhere else in the world.


ORNL's mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that will accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security, and in doing so create economic opportunity for the nation.

Technology Disciplines

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"Brick-and-Mortar" Self-Assembly Approach to Mesoporous Carbon Nanocomposites
"Heat and Corrosion Resistant Cast Austenitic Stainless Steel Alloy
(1) Remote Chemical Sensing and Recognition, (2) Ultrasonic Reading Machine Based on Reverse Photoacoustic Effect
180-Degree-Phase-Span Bobbin-Wound Cores for Electric Machines
2000 LandScan High Resolution Global Population Data Set
2001 LandScan High Resolution Global Population Data Set
2002 LandScan High Resolution Global Population Data Set
2003 LandScan High Resolution Global Population Data Set
2004 LandScan High Resolution Global Population Data Set
2005 LandScan High Resolution Global Population Data Set


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Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research (ARM)
Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC)
Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF)
Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Center for Structural Molecular Biology (CSMB)
Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) Field Research Sites
CSMB | Center For Structural Molecular Biology
High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR)
High Temperature Materials Laboratory (HTML)
Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory (IFEL)



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Solving Big Problems

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Brochure
Lab Representatives

DOE Industry Partnerships Lead to Widespread Adoption of Efficient Commercial Air Conditioners

Commercial air conditioners, often referred to as rooftop units (RTUs), are commonly used across commercial building sectors such as schools, restaurants, big-box retailers, and small office buildings. These heating, ventilation and air conditioning units condition almost half of all U.S. commercial floor space. But commonly they are old and inefficient, wasting anywhere from $900 to $3,700 per unit annually.

To take advantage of this energy and cost savings opportunity, the Department of Energy (DOE) partnered with manufacturers and businesses to launch a multi-faceted program that has transformed an entire market—from a time not long ago, when zero high-efficiency RTUs were commercially available, to a historic standard that ensures all businesses will have access to energy-saving RTUs. Learn about the process step-by-step below.

Step 1: Challenge Manufacturers to Develop Innovative, Efficient Rooftop Units

DOE convened building operators and manufacturers to lay out a high-efficiency performance specification, initiating the High-Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge to produce units that would cut energy use by up to 50% compared to the existing standard. DOE issued a supporting announcement documenting Better Buildings Alliance members’ interest in high-efficiency RTUs that met the specification. Based on the illustrated market demand for these units, manufacturers quickly responded to the challenge. Daikin’s Rebel and Carrier’s WeatherExpert rooftop unit systems became the first to meet the challenge. Today, manufacturers are offering more than 20 RTU models that exceed this specification.

Step 2: Prove New Technologies Work in Real-World Settings

However, many businesses were still hesitant to adopt this new technology without more information on how the technology performed in real-world situations, beyond manufacturer’s data sheets and laboratory testing. Throughout 2013 and 2014, DOE supported third-party verification of performance for the winning units in partnership with building owners/operators and other federal agencies, measuring and sharing their performance. These demonstrations proved that the high-efficiency units save significant energy in a real-world setting, reducing the risk for owners to adopt them.

Step 3: Encourage Widespread Adoption through Industry Partnerships

To stimulate broader savings, DOE initiated the Advanced RTU Campaign in partnership with ASHRAE and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, to spur widespread adoption. Through the Campaign, more than 200 public- and private-sector organizations have upgraded more than 43,000 rooftop units. To date, these upgrades have saved businesses and organizations a combined $37 million annually on their energy bills, while cutting carbon pollution by 356 million pounds. The Campaign recently set a new goal to upgrade 75,000 total RTUs.

Building owners can either commit to replace their old RTUs with more efficient units, or retrofit them with advanced controls, depending on which option makes best financial sense. DOE provides recognition for best practices — along with a peer-to-peer network, validated data on energy savings, and access to technical assistance — awarding those businesses for taking advantage of promising, verified energy savings solutions.

Step 4: Lock In Massive Energy Savings with Historic Efficiency Standard

The success of the Campaign and the Challenge motivated DOE to investigate issuing new standards for commercial RTUs that would set the minimum efficiency level. DOE used its consensus rulemaking process to bring together industry, utilities, and environmental groups in forming the new standard. In December 2015, DOE announced the final standard, which will save more energy than any other standard issued by DOE to date. Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) success stories highlight the positive impact of its work with businesses, industry partners, universities, research labs, and other entities.

Image courtesy of Daikin.


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