This publication details the design, implementation strategies, and continuous performance monitoring of NREL's Research Support Facility data center.
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Evidence has shown that owning and operating energy-efficient, high-performance properties is a sound investment strategy that results in multiple financial benefits, including lower utility bills, higher rents, improved occupancy, and greater net operating income (NOI). To overcome difficulties in isolating moderating factors and identifying specific drivers behind sustainability-related improvements in financial performance and value to investors, DOE commissioned this pilot study; designed to test the logistical and empirical procedures required to conduct real estate research and contribute to the existing body of evidence in this field.
Commercial mortgages currently do not fully account for energy factors in underwriting, valuation and asset management, particularly as it relates to the impact of energy costs on net operating income. As a consequence, energy efficiency is not properly valued and energy risks are not properly assessed and mitigated. Commercial mortgages are a large lever and could be a significant channel for scaling energy efficiency investments.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) owns and leases over 354 million square feet (ft2) of space in over 9,600 buildings. GSA is a leader among federal agencies in aggressively pursuing energy efficiency (EE) opportunities for its facilities and installing renewable energy (RE) systems to provide heating, cooling, and power to these facilities. According to several energy assessments of GSA's buildings conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), plug-loads account for approximately 21% of the total electricity consumed within a standard GSA Region 3 office building. This study aims to provide insight on how to effectively manage plug-load energy consumption and attain higher energy and cost savings for plug-loads. As GSA improves the efficiency of its building stock, plug-loads will become an even greater portion of its energy footprint.