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.
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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.
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.
McGraw Hill Construction Continuing Education Article December 2010 - This article discusses the energy efficiency and cost competitiveness of the Research Support Facility.
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.
A case study of the overview, process, and results of the re-tuning that was conducted in a building in Arlington, Virginia by Vornado Realty Trust in October 2012. Re-tuning provided the facilities management team with the ability to identify and understand building scheduling opportunities that drove significant, low-cost energy savings. Five measures were conducted, many of which pertained to the HVAC system.