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.
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.
This paper documents the methodology developed to identify and reduce plug and process loads (PPLs) as part of NREL's Research Support Facility's (RSF) low energy design process. PPLs, including elevators, kitchen equipment in breakrooms, and office equipment in NREL’s previously occupied office spaces were examined to determine a baseline. This, along with research into the most energy-efficient products and practices, enabled the formulation of a reduction strategy that should yield a 47% reduction in PPLs. The building owner and the design team played equally important roles in developing and implementing opportunities to reduce PPLs. Based on the work done in the RSF, a generalized multistep process has been developed for application to other buildings.