Brookfield Residential’s commitment to the environment inspired us to take a field trip to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden recently. Our sustainability committee of five Brookfield headquarters people spent a couple of hours at the prominent institution, and we gained some seeds for thought about ways that we might apply renewable and sustainable practices to our homebuilding efforts. We were especially impressed with NREL’s tests on windows that automatically dim or brighten (like transition lenses in your eyeglasses) according to the amount of light/heat that the house needs.
We were also excited to learn that NREL is willing to test new technologies at their laboratories, brought to them by outside organizations (like Brookfield!). And we noticed that NREL’s emphasis on sustainability extended to the institute’s landscaping, with rock walls (reminiscent of Brookfield’s efforts at Barefoot Lakes) that help with water management and provide habitat for small animals. It’s an eye-opening place to visit, and even the cafeteria has its energy-efficient characteristics: It uses 25 percent less energy than a similar cafeteria built to commercial code. This field trip to NREL could turn into an annual event!