Rising energy costs and the desire to reduce energy consumption dictates a need for significantly improved building energy performance. Three technologies that have potential to save energy and improve sustainability of buildings are dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS), radiant heating and cooling systems and tighter building envelopes.
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Whole-building simulation and analysis has demonstrated a significant energy savings potential in a wide variety of design projects. Commercial building design, however, traditionally integrates simulation and modeling analyses too late in the design process to make a substantial impact on energy use. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) commercial building group created an optimization platform called Opt-E-Plus that uses multivariate and multi-objective optimization theory to navigate a large parameter space and find economically valid, energy-saving solutions.
Walmart opened two experimental stores—one in Colorado and one in Texas—in 2005 to serve as test beds for several advanced building systems. Each store embodied more than 50 experiments covering materials, water systems, energy systems, and renewable energy production. The energy system performance was compared to the measured performance of a prototypical Walmart store and to other benchmarks where appropriate.
This report documents outcomes of the effort to rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, a town devastated by tornado damage in 2007. Key strategies include a sustainable comprehensive master plan, an ordinance specifying LEED Platinum ratings and 42% energy savings for city-owned buildings, focus on integrated design processes, and linkage of renewable and energy efficiency technologies with business development.
This paper presents a method for harnessing a discrete optimization algorithm to obtain significantly different, economically viable building designs that satisfy an energy efficiency goal. The method is demonstrated using NREL’s first-generation building analysis platform, Opt E-Plus, and two example problems. We discuss the information content of the results, and the computational effort required by the algorithm.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) worked in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the ASHRAE Military Technology Group (MTG) to develop baseline and target energy budgets and design guides with a prescriptive path for achieving energy savings of 30% or more over the baseline.
NREL has developed the novel concept of a desiccant enhanced evaporative air conditioner (DEVap) with the objective of combining the benefits of liquid desiccant and evaporative cooling technologies into an innovative “cooling core.” Liquid desiccant technologies have extraordinary dehumidification potential, but require an efficient cooling sink. Today’s advanced indirect evaporative coolers provide powerful and efficient cooling sinks, but are fundamentally limited by the moisture content in the air.
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.
This conference paper discusses four well-documented definitions of net-zero energy: net-zero site energy, net-zero source energy, net-zero energy costs, and net-zero energy emissions, along with pluses and minuses of each.
The new Research Support Facilities (RSF), currently in construction on the campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is utilizing a wide variety of energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption by 50% over standard commercial buildings. But the goal to achieve a LEED Platinum rating didn’t override a focus on cost. The RSF’s construction costs are competitive with today’s less energy efficient commercial buildings, proof that energy efficiency doesn’t have to come at a premium.