Plug and process loads (PPLs) in commercial buildings account for almost 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building. PPLs are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and typically do not provide comfort to the occupants. They use an increasingly large fraction of the building energy use pie because the number and variety of electrical devices have increased along with building system efficiency. Reducing PPLs is difficult because energy efficiency opportunities and the equipment needed to address PPL energy use in office spaces are poorly understood.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Research Support Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is a new 222,000 square foot office building. It achieves the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design New Construction Platinum certification, and is expected to become the largest net-zero energy office building in the nation.
This fact sheet published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discusses the lab's newest building, the Research Support Facility (RSF). The RSF is a showcase for ultra-efficient workplaces. Various renewable energy and energy efficiency features have been employed so that the building achieves a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.