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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Masters Research Associate - Building Sustainability in Des Moines, Iowa


The Electricity Infrastructure and Buildings Division is one of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's most innovative teams. We are talented, award-winning administrators, specialists, technicians, managers, scientists and engineers, and we're working at the forefront of some of America's toughest energy challenges. Our mission is to provide multi-disciplinary solutions to energy challenges that have impacts on a national-scale. We employ a systems perspective that addresses technological, economic, regulatory, and market barriers to improve the nation's energy systems from generation to end-use. We provide transparent, reproducible, and unbiased results to guide policy and technological innovation.

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; building technology measurement, validation, demonstration, and site-level assessment; techno-economic and lifecycle assessment; and planning for energy and water resilience. We work closely with over 300 subject matter experts across the broader Electricity Infrastructure & Buildings Division to support the Nation’s transition to a sustainable, efficient, resilient, and secure energy and water systems through innovation and actionable solutions.


We are seeking a post masters research associate with interest/background in building sustainability, knowledge of building systems, energy and water efficiency, and indoor environmental quality (including thermal comfort, air quality, and lighting). The primary tasks this researcher will support include conducting research in healthy buildings, building energy policy, decarbonization strategies, and building assessments.

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; and the Building Systems Group Leader, for staff development, performance evaluation, and operational discipline (e.g., safe operations). The candidate will apply basic engineering and scientific theories to conduct work that supports the selection and development of technical approaches to complex problems with oversight.

The individual will be expected to: support our scientists, engineers, and analysts on tasks and projects; support research of specific topics around building sustainability; demonstrate ability to follow guidance, coaching, and mentoring; and perform research, development, and analysis tasks with a high degree of quality, attention to detail, safety, and security awareness. In this position, the individual will collaborate with one or more principal investigators of current work, with the potential to directly contribute to one or more technical papers suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have received a Master’s degree within the past 24 months or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university.

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 required.

Preferred Qualifications:

Candidates are encouraged to apply to this position even if they do not have all of the following preferred qualifications

  • Highly-motivated and independent researcher with a demonstrated record of scholarship and knowledge of building systems.

  • Knowledge of broad range of topics around building sustainability including:

  • energy and water efficiency

  • healthy buildings including indoor air quality, thermal comfort, and lighting

  • building energy policy

  • renewable energy systems

  • decarbonization strategies

  • Data analysis skills (e.g. Excel, Python, R)

  • Demonstrated ability to write concisely and clearly.

  • Experience in publishing peer-reviewed journal articles.

  • Experience and interest in stakeholder engagement and outreach activities.

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

  • A passion for learning and innovation to advance building sustainability.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not Applicable.

Additional Information

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

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

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.

Beginning 05/01/23, 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

Battelle requires employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation. Applicants are required to disclose their vaccination status following a conditional offer of employment and must attest to being fully vaccinated with a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination, or provide documentation of need for medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

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.

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