This publication details the design, implementation strategies, and continuous performance monitoring of NREL's Research Support Facility data center.
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This case study details the design and operations of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Research Support Facility data center and its contributions to energy efficiency.
Plug and process loads in commercial buildings account for 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building.
The Research Support Facility complex (RSF, RSF II, parking garage, and associated site lighting) was designed to produce more on-site renewable energy than it uses over the course of a typical weather year, when accounted for at the site. To date, the end use performance monitoring and verification suggests that when the RSF complex is fully built out, we will meet the annual energy use goals. Continued performance monitoring and occupant education are required to ensure annual energy use goals will continue to be met.
This presentation shows how the Research Support Facility is a showcase for sustainable, high-performance design, how it incorporates the best in energy efficiency, environmental performance, and advanced controls using a “whole building” integrated design process, and serves as a model for cost-competitive, high-performance commercial buildings for the nation’s design construction, operation, and financing communities.
The Research Support Facility is designed to be one of the world's largest net-zero energy buildings. It incorporates new technologies and techniques and draws on centuries-old concepts. Its operable windows allow natural ventilation. It monitors indoor and outdoor temperatures and displays messages on each computer about opening or closing windows.
The U.S. Department of Energy hopes lessons learned from the Research Support Facility will help guide green-construction practices around the world. Outside experts in efficient construction point out that some of the technology used at NREL is best suited for high-sunlight, low-humidity climates such as Colorado and would not work nearly as well elsewhere. The building also demands a lot from its employees, who must adjust to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day and pop up from their desks to open and shut windows; a workforce less dedicated to energy efficiency might rebel.
This article describes many energy efficiency features of the Research Support Facility and the adjustments employees need to make.
Empirical techniques for characterizing electrical energy use now play a key role in reducing electricity consumption, particularly miscellaneous electrical loads, in buildings. Identifying device operating modes (mode extraction) creates a better understanding of both device and system behaviors. Using clustering to extract operating modes from electrical load data can provide valuable insights into device behavior and identify opportunities for energy savings. We present a fast and effective heuristic clustering method to identify and extract operating modes in electrical load data.
This case study describes National Renewable Energy Laboratory efforts design a world-class, energy-efficient data center to support the operations of a new office building. These efforts resulted in a highly efficient data center that demonstrated considerable energy savings in its first 11 months of operations. Using legacy data center performance as a baseline, the new facility cut energy use by nearly 1.45 million kWh, delivering cost savings of approximately $82,000.