NREL – Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility (VTIF) – Laboratory Upgrades

360 Engineering’s experience with the Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility (VTIF) on NREL’s South Table Mountain campus dates to 2009 when we led a team of architects and engineers in designing the building and the vehicle test pad. VTIF was designed with prefabricated walls, roof panels, and a solar wall located outside of the building to pre-heat the outside air used for ventilation in winter, thereby reducing the heating load on the building. The facility’s original use was to research the interaction of building energy systems, utility grids, renewable energy sources, and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). 


In 2019, NREL needed more laboratory research space to conduct weather simulations on vehicles, which required the reconfiguration of VTIF to support changing research activities accommodating the Materials & Chemicals Science & Technology (MCST) Group. This included updates to the mechanical and electrical systems, adding a process chilled water system, and modifying building infrastructure. The reconfiguration also involved removing existing laboratory equipment, replacing it with new equipment for MCST. 


One of the new pieces of equipment was a weatherometer, this required a new modular chiller with variable flow process chilled water system to mitigate the heat dissipation away from the ambient air. Additionally, the building’s ventilation system was provided with a new chilled water coil and gas-fired heating coil to provide more stringent temperature control of the laboratory space. Finally, to accommodate the new lab equipment and processes, the chemical exhaust system was upgraded for the added capacity. 


Golden, CO