Founded more than 30 years ago, the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) exists to provide research into important state industries—in this case, energy and its environmental impact.
The center is embarking on a program to address the critical national need for low-cost, reliable and abundant energy, with a focus on biofuels, ASSOCIATED FIRMMurphy + Graves Architects, PLLCCOST PER SQ FT$375.38FEATURED IN2013 Architectural Portfolio technology and high-tech batteries. It contains one of the first federal battery manufacturing labs in the United States, which will work to develop better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, among other things.
Pursuing LEED gold certification, the building itself is a showpiece for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. It is designed to operate 54 percent more efficiently than a standard laboratory building, using a geothermal heating and cooling system, rooftop solar panels and increased insulation in the building envelope. Windows contain a nanogel material that diffuses sunlight and provides the same insulation as brick walls.
Three energy-recovery wheels recapture energy contained in hood exhaust and supply air. In just one year, the amount of energy savings from the recovery wheels will pay back their initial installation and purchase costs.