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.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Research Support Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is a new 222,000 square foot office building. It achieves the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design New Construction Platinum certification, and is expected to become the largest net-zero energy office building in the nation.
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.
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 Research Support Facility complex (RSF, RSF II, parking garage, and associated site lighting) was designed to produce more on-site renewable energy than it uses over the course of a typical weather year, when accounted for at the site. To date, the end use performance monitoring and verification suggests that when the RSF complex is fully built out, we will meet the annual energy use goals. Continued performance monitoring and occupant education are required to ensure annual energy use goals will continue to be met.
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 fact sheet published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discusses the lab's newest building, the Research Support Facility (RSF). The RSF is a showcase for ultra-efficient workplaces. Various renewable energy and energy efficiency features have been employed so that the building achieves a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
This article describes many energy efficiency features of the Research Support Facility and the adjustments employees need to make.
This presentation shows how the Research Support Facility is a showcase for sustainable, high-performance design, how it incorporates the best in energy efficiency, environmental performance, and advanced controls using a “whole building” integrated design process, and serves as a model for cost-competitive, high-performance commercial buildings for the nation’s design construction, operation, and financing communities.
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.