Building 1 is nearly 60 years old and houses the majority of NIST research and measurement programs on the agency's Boulder, Colo., site. However, the rapidly deteriorating building cannot provide the tight control of vibration, temperature, and air quality required for 21st-century research needs.
The poor condition of Building 1 causes an estimated loss in productivity of at least 20 percent due to the need to repeat experiments to produce quality research results and to compensate for poor controls in other ways. Averaged results from economic studies conducted in a number of different industrial sectors have found that a dollar invested in NIST research produces about $40 in U.S. economic and social benefits. This means that the $10 million loss in NIST Boulder research productivity results in $400 million annually in unrealized economic and social benefits for the U.S. overall.
Poor laboratory controls also frequently cause the loss of delicate nanoscale devices. Even for the limited range of work that can be attempted, current laboratory conditions create large inefficiencies as well as safety concerns. Ventilation systems do not supply adequate fresh air for modern laboratory work, electrical systems contain asbestos and do not meet current codes, lighting is poor, and most of the building is not protected by a fire sprinkler system.
A detailed 2006 facility review found that less than 25 percent of NIST Boulder laboratory space performs to required specifications. Some high-performance laboratory space will be provided by the NIST Boulder Precision Measurement Laboratory currently under construction. Yet even when this space becomes available in 2011, more than 50 percent of NIST Boulder laboratory space must undergo extensive renovation to ensure that the Institute can perform the exacting, precision measurements required to meet its mission.
This initiative is part of a comprehensive, multi-year plan for the phased construction of new space and renovation of Building 1 at the NIST Boulder laboratories. The 2011 funding request will support:
The successful renovation of Building 1 is a critical step to ensure that NIST can more effectively support key national technology priorities in energy, manufacturing, health care, physical infrastructure, homeland security, nanotechnology, information technology, and many other national areas.