NIST testing new technology on energy efficiency right here in Montgomery County

Did you know that buildings consume as much as 1/3 of all our energy? We need to reduce energy consumption in our residential and commercial buildings if we are going to address climate change and the problems it creates, like Superstorm Sandy.  

Right here in Montgomery County, the federal research agency NIST has built the country’s premier lab to test home energy efficiency technology. Using Obama Administration stimulus funds, the lab is a house designed to consume zero total energy in an environment that replicates the energy consumption of an average American family. The purpose of the lab is to allow NIST to install new technologies that are developed in the private sector or public sector and test their results for energy consumption.

Recently, I took a tour of the lab at the suggestion of not only the director of NIST, Patrick Gallagher, but also Marilyn Balcombe, with the Gemantown Gaithersburg Chamber of Commerce. A local Montgomery County company, Therrien Waddell, was the prime construction contractor for the job and we are very proud of their remarkable work.  

NIST Labs’ Energy Efficiency Home Tour – October 31st 2012 

As I took the tour, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman next to me, Chris White. It turns out Chris is a NIST employee who worked on the project. In addition to his work at NIST, he is an avid beekeeper and keeps proactive on the zoning code rewrite issue (trying to ensure the new zone for the county does not prevent beekeepers). He is also a 15 year veteran of the volunteer fire department, station 11. We talked about beekeeping, the zoning code rewrite, the volunteer service, and home energy efficiency.  

If you wonder what it is that moves me about serving as your County Council member, this experience sums it up. In fact, we have had significant progress on other initiatives that focus technology and constituent engagement, so definitely stay tuned for more announcements next week….