Plug and process loads in commercial buildings account for 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building.
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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.
This five-page fact sheet explains how designing, building, and operating zero energy ready K-12 schools provides benefits for districts, students, and teachers.
This paper introduces a classification system for net-zero energy buildings (ZEB) based on the renewable sources a building uses.
This publication details the design, implementation strategies, and continuous performance monitoring of NREL's Research Support Facility data center.
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.
A solar ready building is engineered and designed for solar installation, even if the solar installation does not happen at the time of construction. The solar ready design features, if considered early in the design process, are typically low or no cost. Attention to building orientation, available roof space, roof type, and other features is key to designing solar ready buildings.
This case study details the design and operations of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Research Support Facility data center and its contributions to energy efficiency.
Imagine a school so inviting that students want to come to school. Now imagine this school housed in a beautiful, light-filled building that produces more energy on an annual basis than it uses. Finally, imagine that the district built this school on the same budget as a conventional school, using typical materials, equipment, and tradespeople.
Sound too good to be true? Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, is living proof that zero energy (ZE) schools are feasible, affordable, and sensible.
School districts and their design and construction teams have encountered and overcome challenges to achieving zero energy in school buildings. This five-page fact sheet explains how they did it.