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.
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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.
The California Lighting Technology Center partnered with Finelite, Inc. and Adura Technologies to develop and demonstrate a unique, wireless task/ambient office lighting solution ideally suited for the retrofit market. The system consists of two key elements: a task/ambient lighting system and advanced, wireless lighting controls. The combination substantially reduce energy use and improves lighting quality, and provides personal lighting control for individual work spaces, and does not require additional wiring or rewiring of existing luminaries or lighting circuits. The system has three specific components: adaptive ambient lighting, light-emitting diode task lighting, and wireless controls.