McGraw Hill Construction Continuing Education Article December 2010 - This article discusses the energy efficiency and cost competitiveness of the Research Support Facility.
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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.
At the time this Wall Street Journal article was published, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory was midway through construction of a $64 million project to be the greenest office building in the nation. This article explores efforts by architects and engineers who spent hundreds of hours calculating the energy use of every aspect of the building, from the elevator to the exit signs.
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.
Despite the humid climate and lack of financial incentives, the American South is a hotbed of zero energy school construction.
How to determine the amount of continuous insulation required by codes, while still retarding water vapor according to climate zone locations
"While ASHRAE 90.1 has been pushing continuous insulation (CI) for the past decade, the building codes are catching on. And now that the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has mandated all states to adopt a commercial building energy code that meets or exceeds ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, CI specifications are really being cast into the spotlight."
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is devising a new design-build project delivery model for fast-tracked, net-zero energy building. The process is progressive, performance-based design-build.
"When designers of the first net zero energy school in the U.S. considered how they would approach the lighting design differently using today’s LED technology, the results extended far beyond just switching out the lightbulbs. The hypothetical redesign of Richardsville (Ky.) Elementary classrooms involves rethinking the daylighting design based on the evolution of LED lighting and the cheaper cost of photovoltaics (PV)."