This publication details the design, implementation strategies, and continuous performance monitoring of NREL's Research Support Facility data center.
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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.
Few third-party guidance documents or tools are available for evaluating thermal energy storage (TES) integrated with packaged air conditioning (AC), as this type of TES is relatively new compared to TES integrated with chillers or hot water systems. To address this gap, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted a project to improve the ability of potential technology adopters to evaluate TES technologies. Major project outcomes included: development of an evaluation framework to describe key metrics, methodologies, and issues to consider when assessing the performance of TES systems integrated with packaged AC; application of multiple concepts from the evaluation framework to analyze performance data from four demonstration sites; and production of a new simulation capability that enables modeling of TES integrated with packaged AC in EnergyPlus. This report includes the evaluation framework and analysis results from the project.
OpenStudio development efforts have been focused on providing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) where users are able to extend OpenStudio without the need to compile the open source libraries. This paper will discuss the basic purposes and functionalities of the core libraries that have been wrapped with APIs including the Building Model, Results Processing, Advanced Analysis, Uncertainty Quantification, and Data Interoperability through Translators. Several building energy modeling applications have been produced using OpenStudio's API and Software Development Kits (SDK) including the United States Department of Energy's Asset ScoreCalculator, a mobile-based audit tool, an energy design assistance reporting protocol, and a portfolio scale incentive optimization analysis methodology. Each of these software applications will be discussed briefly and will describe how the APIs were leveraged for various uses including high-level modeling, data transformations from detailed building audits, error checking/quality assurance of models, and use of high-performance computing for mass simulations.
This paper will discuss the Building Agent™ platform, which has been developed and deployed in a campus setting at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Building Agent™ provides aggregated and coherent access to building data, including electric energy, thermal energy, temperatures, humidity, and lighting levels, and occupant feedback, which are displayed in various manners for visitors, building occupants, facility managers, and researchers. This paper focuses on the development of visualizations for facility managers, or an energy performance assurance role, where metered data are used to generate models that provide live predicted ranges of building performance by end use.
The purpose of the central utility plant (CUP) cooling control guide is to show, through examples of good and bad operations, how CUP cooling can be efficiently controlled including suggested actions.