Plug and process loads (PPLs) in commercial buildings account for almost 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building. PPLs are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and typically do not provide comfort to the occupants. They use an increasingly large fraction of the building energy use pie because the number and variety of electrical devices have increased along with building system efficiency. Reducing PPLs is difficult because energy efficiency opportunities and the equipment needed to address PPL energy use in office spaces are poorly understood.
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Low energy or high-performance buildings form a vital component in the sustainable future of building design and construction. Rigorous integrated daylighting design and simulation will be critical to their success as energy efficiency becomes a requirement, because electric lighting usually represents a large fraction of the energy consumed. We present the process and tools used to design the lighting systems in the newest building at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Research Support Facility (RSF). Daylighting had to be integrated with the electric lighting, as low energy use (50% below ASHRAE 90.1-2004) and the LEED daylight credit were contractually required, with a reach goal of being a net-zero energy building (NZEB). The oft-ignored disconnect between lighting simulation and whole-building energy use simulation had to be addressed, as ultimately all simulation efforts had to translate to energy use intensity predictions, design responses, and preconstruction substantiation of the design. We present preliminary data from the postoccupancy monitoring efforts with an eye toward the current efficacy of energy and lighting simulation methodologies.
Douglas County School District faced a challenging combination of aging equipment and buildings (most over 37 years old), rising energy costs, and limited access to taxpayer funds due to the fiscally-conservative makeup of the region’s voters. The district's leadership responded creatively by beginning with an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) that utilized a tax-exempt installment purchase agreement (IPA). This case study is excerpted from Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts: A Guide to Tapping into Funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Improvements.
The Research Support Facility was designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind. Many of its innovative technologies use passive and active processes to provide energy for its operations, such as electricity, heating, and cooling. The goal of this unique office building is to reach net zero energy use by engaging staff in best energy practices.
This resource provides a detailed guide to power purchase agreements for state and local governments including financial and contractual considerations.
This resource describes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pilot loan program for home energy improvements launched in 2010.
This paper documents the methodology developed to identify and reduce plug and process loads (PPLs) as part of NREL's Research Support Facility's (RSF) low energy design process. PPLs, including elevators, kitchen equipment in breakrooms, and office equipment in NREL’s previously occupied office spaces were examined to determine a baseline. This, along with research into the most energy-efficient products and practices, enabled the formulation of a reduction strategy that should yield a 47% reduction in PPLs. The building owner and the design team played equally important roles in developing and implementing opportunities to reduce PPLs. Based on the work done in the RSF, a generalized multistep process has been developed for application to other buildings.
This eight-page fact sheet helps employees moving to the RSF navigate NREL's changing landscape. This brochure provides getting up and running, building access, emergencies, shuttle service, RTD buses, parking locations, parking passes, exceptions to off-site parking, conference rooms and huddle rooms, balconies, elevators, lunchroom, quiet rooms, smoking, iGo Power Smart Tower, and supporting RSF's net zero energy mission.
This report discusses miscellaneous electrical loads, which are building loads that are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and typically do not provide comfort to the occupants. MELs in commercial buildings account for almost 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption.
This paper reviews the novel procurement, acquisition, and contract process of a large-scale replicable net zero energy (ZEB) office building. The owners (who are also commercial building energy efficiency researchers) developed and implemented an energy performance based design-build process to procure an office building with contractual requirements to meet demand side energy and LEED goals. The key procurement steps needed to ensure achievement of the energy efficiency and ZEB goals using a replicable delivery process are outlined.