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This report documents outcomes of the effort to rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, a town devastated by tornado damage in 2007. Key strategies include a sustainable comprehensive master plan, an ordinance specifying LEED Platinum ratings and 42% energy savings for city-owned buildings, focus on integrated design processes, and linkage of renewable and energy efficiency technologies with business development.
The new Research Support Facilities (RSF), currently in construction on the campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is utilizing a wide variety of energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption by 50% over standard commercial buildings. But the goal to achieve a LEED Platinum rating didn’t override a focus on cost. The RSF’s construction costs are competitive with today’s less energy efficient commercial buildings, proof that energy efficiency doesn’t have to come at a premium.
Miscellaneous electrical loads (MELs) are building loads that are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and typically do not provide comfort to the building occupants. MELs in commercial buildings account for almost 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. On an individual building level, they account for approximately 25% of the total electrical load in a minimally code-compliant commercial building, and can exceed 50% in an ultra-high efficiency building such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF). Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building. A complex array of technologies that measure and manage MELs has emerged in the marketplace. Some fall short of manufacturer performance claims, however. NREL has been actively engaged in developing an evaluation and selection process for MELs control, and is using this process to evaluate a range of technologies for active MELs management that will cap RSF plug loads. Using a control strategy to match plug load use to users' required job functions is a huge untapped potential for energy savings.