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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Building Controls Research Engineer 3 in Des Moines, Iowa


The Buildings Systems Group is seeking a Building Controls Research Engineer to join our team of building systems experts working to decarbonize buildings, improve energy and water system performance, test and demonstrate new technologies, and facilitate systems integration in federal and commercial facilities. This position offers a unique opportunity to develop, demonstrate, and learn from novel approaches to building Controls Optimization & Re-tuning (CORe)™, building control systems integration, and predictive fault detection and diagnostics. We are looking for candidates with familiarity and some practical experience with building HVAC control systems (design, programming, commissioning, or operations), analyzing control system data to optimize building performance, and developing diagnostic and prognostic methods to enable more timely and proactive operation and maintenance of building systems.

PNNL’s Buildings Systems Group performs applied research to enhance the energy and water efficiency, occupant productivity, and resilient operation of buildings and their connected energy and water systems. Our core research capabilities span building performance evaluation, building control system optimization, and site-level assessment and planning for energy and water resilience. We work closely with over 350 subject matter experts across the broader Electricity Infrastructure & Buildings Division to support the Nation’s transition to a sustainable, efficient, resilient, and secure energy system through innovation and actionable solutions.


The successful candidate will be accountable to:

  • Project and/or Task Managers for performing assigned roles, following applicable project and field procedures, and performance of assigned tasks on time and within budget;

  • The Buildings & Connected Systems Group Leader, and Building Performance Evaluation Team Leader, for staff development, performance evaluation, and operational discipline (e.g., safe operations).

The candidate we are looking for is an individual who has a recognized reputation of applying building science and engineering principles and theories to proposing new research and solving buildings operations and controls challenges. The individual will provide guidance on assignments to more junior staff and develop technical approaches to solve building research challenges. Leads development of technical products, such as technical reports and journal articles, and presents at national conferences and technical forums. Defines and leads projects/tasks, reporting results on time and on budget. Provides leadership to proposals for new work. Teams with staff across the group and division to share resources and optimize approaches. Mentors junior staff and/or students.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • BS/BA and 5+ years of relevant work experience -OR-

  • MS/MA and 3+ years of relevant work experience -OR-

  • PhD with 1+ year of relevant experience

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Graduate degree in mechanical engineering, buildings sciences, electrical engineering, or related field.

  • Practical experience analyzing building- or campus-scale energy and water systems, including design, commissioning, operations and maintenance, or auditing (e.g. ASHRAE level 2).

  • Experience using whole-building modeling tools (e.g. eQUEST, Energy Plus) to identify retrofit opportunities.

  • Analysis of building control system data to optimize HVAC performance and use of diagnostic and prognostic methods to enable more timely and proactive operation and maintenance of building systems.

  • Experience with miscellaneous electric loads and consumer electronics power management, measurement and estimation, and power conversion.

  • Experience setting up experimental research and technology demonstrations.

  • Basic programming skills for data analysis (e.g. Python, R)

  • A collaborative approach to problem-solving and the ability to work well with geographically distributed and interdisciplinary teams.

  • Ability to interact and communicate effectively with clients.

  • Demonstrated ability to write concisely and clearly. A technical writing sample is required.

  • A passion for learning and innovation to advance energy efficiency.

  • Willingness to travel domestically for field work, including to U.S. military installations.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment


Additional Information

Due to business needs and client space, US Citizenship is required:

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is subject to the Department of Energy Unclassified Foreign Visits & Assignment Program site, information, technologies, and equipment access requirements.

“Referral Eligible”

Testing Designated Position

Not Applicable

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3-hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at .

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

If you are offered employment at PNNL, you must pass a drug test prior to commencing employment. PNNL complies with federal law regarding illegal drug use. Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal drug. If you test positive for any illegal controlled substance, including marijuana, your offer of employment will be withdrawn.

Mandatory Requirements

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries, you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Rockstar Rewards

Employees and their families are offered medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, health savings account, flexible spending accounts, basic life insurance, disability insurance, employee assistance program, business travel insurance, tuition assistance, supplemental parental bonding leave, surrogacy and adoption assistance, and fertility support. Employees are automatically enrolled in our company funded pension plan and may enroll in our 401k savings plan. Employees may accrue up to 120 vacation hours per year and may receive ten paid holidays per year.

  • Research Associates excluded.

**Once eligibility requirements are met.

Click Here For Rockstar Rewards (

Minimum Salary

USD $106,000.00/Yr.

Maximum Salary

USD $158,900.00/Yr.