NREL’s Sustainable Campus Overview

NREL’s Sustainable Campus Overview


Welcome to the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s premier
laboratory for research in energy efficiency and renewable energy
technologies. The technologies that we develop here
at NREL are what help build a sustainable campus. NREL began with first LEED platinum federal building, the Science and
Technology Facility, in 2006. Since then NREL has built seven LEED certified buildings, six of them platinum. The RSF is our flagship net-zero energy
project. Some the key strategies for efficiency and sustainability include
maximizing the use of daylighting. So if you walk around the building when it’s sunny out, the lights will be dimmed or off across the whole building and lighting is usually one the biggest end uses in any commercial office building. The RSF also
incorporates a large PV array for offsetting all of our energy use. We have a 2.6 megawatts of solar panels on the roof in our parking that on an annual basis, make more energy than the building uses. Usually, parking garages are tucked away
and hidden, not central elements of sustainability but
for us it’s different. It also helps to power buildings, it has a large PV array
on the roof. It has electric vehicle charging stations
for facility vehicles and staff vehicles to charge off the sun. The Energy Systems Integration Facility, or the ESIF, is a one of a kind research facility on our
campus here, it is our flagship facility for integrating renewables into our energy
systems. We have a supercomputer in ESIF that is the world’s most energy-efficient
supercomputer in that it doesn’t require mechanical air conditioning to cool it, enabling it to be
one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient computer in the world. The cafeteria was built with a lot of
daylighting, radiant heating, all the equipment in it is
energy star-rated. It’s a LEED Platinum cafeteria – which is
pretty rare – and a leader in how to reduce energy use
in commercial kitchens. So when the water comes off all of our
roofs, in a big rain event, we divert it to
our landscaping and ends up in our super pond which is a way to keep the water from flooding out the water system and streams we have in Golden. We have a living laboratory in our high performance buildings. We
have a lot of metering, a lot of knowledge we’re creating, in how to operate, and
design high-performance net-zero energy office buildings And this is to transform the commercial building sector especially in our partners and other federal agencies. So we spend a lot of time publishing the
work we do, presenting it, and then also bringing other federal agencies
through to see how large-scale net-zero energy buildings can cost-effectively be delivered. To me the hope is that this
becomes mainstream that this is what everyone, that has a campus, looks to to make it more sustainable.

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