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.
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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.
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.