NREL Verifies First Federal Net-Zero Energy Building

June 10, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

NREL energy manageThe Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently verified the first year of net-zero energy performance of its Research Support Facility (RSF) building. RSF is the first federal building verified to achieve net-zero energy performance.

The RSF is a LEED Platinum-certified 360,000-sq-foot office building that houses about 1,300 NREL and Energy Department staff as well as a data center. It accomplished net-zero energy through a combination of energy efficiency technologies used in the building, effective operations and management of the building, as well as onsite electricity generation from a 2.6 MW solar PV system on the roof of the building and adjacent parking areas.

Like the rest of the NREL campus, the RSF was designed and built with the intention of being a model for how building projects can incorporate energy efficiency strategies and technologies, and in the case of the RSF how projects can be made to be net-zero energy ready. The NREL researchers involved in the project made it accessible to anyone by compiling and documenting their experiences in energy performance-based commercial building acquisition and the adoption of energy-saving building technologies.

Net-zero energy is an operations target, not a design target, which means it requires ongoing management to assure the building meets its energy goals year after year.

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