Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Building Controls Research Engineer in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 310162

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Division: Electricity Infrastructure & Buildings

Group: Building & Connected Systems

Job Description

About Us

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution tackling some of the most challenging problems in energy, the environment, and national security. PNNL’s Buildings & Connected 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 energy simulation, building performance evaluation, building control system optimization, and site-level assessment and planning for energy and water resilience.

The Position

The Buildings & Connected Systems Group seeks a Building Controls Research Engineer to support research on building performance optimization, and development of solutions to make federal buildings and sites (e.g., campuses, installations) more energy- and water-resilient. This position offers the opportunity to investigate, develop, and demonstrate novel methods for building HVAC and equipment control and decision support (including automated fault detection and diagnostics) for building systems operations and maintenance.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Receives guidance on new assignments, making preliminary selections on technical alternatives to solve building control system research challenges, including:

  • Supports developing algorithms for maintaining specific control system processes within a desired range

  • Helps assess and implement controls optimization and re-tuning methods on federal buildings, and training federal building operators and energy managers in those methods.

  • Supporting efforts to integrate diverse operating systems and control technologies into seamless platforms, including developing enterprise solutions.

  • Contributes to developing, testing, and demonstrating methods for automated predictive fault detection and diagnostics.

  • Contributes to developing and executing experimental test plans that simulate real-world building conditions from new control optimization research methods.

  • Receives guidance on new assignments, making preliminary selections on technical alternatives; leading small-sized tasks and executing within budget and timeframes allotted.

  • Contributing to technical products, such as technical reports and journal articles, and presenting at conferences and technical forums.

  • Generating new ideas and contributing to the development of proposals for business and capability development opportunities.

  • Teaming with staff across the group and division to share resources and optimize approaches.

  • Mentoring, growing the skills and inspiring the commitment of other staff

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 Technical Group Manager, and Building Performance Optimization Team Lead, for general staff performance and development, operational discipline (e.g., maintaining training qualifications, procedural compliance, safe operations), and project execution.

About You

You will bring to this position:

  • 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.

  • A passion for learning and innovation, and a desire to advance the building sciences domain through improvements in energy and water efficiency.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with an interest in documenting and publishing findings from research and field work through technical reports, journal articles and conference presentations.

  • A collaborative approach to problem-solving and the ability to work well with inter-disciplinary teams (e.g. experts in mechanical systems, control systems, cyber security, network communications).

  • The ability to interact and communicate effectively with clients.

  • Willingness to travel up to 25% of time.

Minimum Qualifications

  • The candidate must have a minimum of a BS/BA with 2 years of experience MS/MA with 0 years of experience PhD with 0 years of experience.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or related field.

  • Knowledgeable of building HVAC equipment and systems.

  • Experience in one or more control systems (e.g. JCI, Allerton, Niagara, Siemens).

  • Practical experience conducting building energy evaluations (e.g. ASHRAE level 2).

  • Familiarity with programming languages (e.g., Python or Modelica).

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. If you are offered a position at PNNL and are currently a participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program you will be required to disclose this information before your first day of employment.

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Job Category: Scientists/Scientific Support

Group: Buildings & Connected Systems

Opening Date: 2019-11-21

Closing Date: 2020-04-10