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It is still early in the collection and analysis of energy performance data, but it is already clear that high-performance commercial buildings—some "almost net-zero buildings"—can be constructed cost effectively, providing productive environments for occupants, reducing operating costs, and enhancing the competitiveness of commercial properties.
This report outlines the technical protocol used to generate Department of Energy's Commercial Building Energy Asset Score for commercial buildings, explains the scoring methodology, and provides additional details regarding the Asset Scoring Tool. This report also describes alternative methods that were considered prior to developing the current approach. Finally, this report describes a few features of the program where alternative approaches are still under evaluation.
This report presents a set of 15 best practices for owners, designers, and construction teams to reach high-performance goals and maintain a competitive budget. These best practices are based on the recent experiences of the Research Support Facility owner and design-build team for the Research Support Facility (RSF) on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) campus in Golden, Colorado, and show that achieving this high performance outcomes requires that all key integrated team members understand their opportunities to control capital costs.
First costs, or capital costs, for energy efficiency strategies in office buildings are often a primary barrier to realizing high-performance buildings with 50% or greater energy savings. Historically, the industry has been unable to reach deep energy savings because of a reliance on energy cost savings and simple payback analysis alone to justify investments. A more comprehensive and integrated cost justification and capital cost control approach is needed. By implementing innovative procurement and delivery strategies, integrated design principles and cost tradeoffs, life cycle cost justifications, and streamlined construction methods, first cost barriers can be overcome. It is now possible to attain marketable, high-performance office buildings that achieve LEED Platinum and reach net zero energy goals at competitive whole building first costs, as illustrated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s and National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s latest high-performance office building, the Research Support Facility (RSF) on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus in Golden, Colorado.
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.
This case study describes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) data center as a showcase of energy efficiency. Most of what NREL has done can be replicated by clients; however, two design approaches are climate-dependent: near-full reliance on outside air for cooling, and photovoltaic arrays for power.
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.
This paper describes how net-zero energy buildings will produce, during a typical year, enough renewable energy to offset the energy they consume from the grid.
NREL's sustainability vision is to build a laboratory of the future that is committed to sustainability, which is built on a framework of economic viability, environmental health, and public responsibility over the long term through appropriate investment decisions and operating practices.This report shows NREL’s progress in making sustainability an integral part of its corporate culture and providing a global sustainability model