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.
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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.
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 (LEED) Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
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 issue highlights National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Research Support Facility and its foundations in energy efficiency.
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.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Program has set the aggressive goal of producing marketable net-zero energy buildings by 2025. This goal will require collaboration between the DOE laboratories and the building industry. We developed standard or reference energy models for the most common commercial buildings to serve as starting points for energy efficiency research. These models represent fairly realistic buildings and typical construction practices. Fifteen commercial building types and one multifamily residential building were determined by consensus between DOE, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and represent approximately two-thirds of the commercial building stock.
This action plan provides detailed examples of enhancements to communication standards to provide descriptive data that better facilitates building operations decisions. This will allow current and future algorithms to efficiently transform raw data into actionable insights.