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Sustainable and Net Zero Buildings on the NREL Campus

Many of the high-performance buildings on NREL's South Table Mountain campus have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and/or net zero energy status. By incorporating state-of-the-art energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, these buildings are models for sustainability. In addition, the campus features native and xeriscape vegetation.

This infographic shows NRELs high-performance, sustainable buildings on the South Table Mountain (STM) campus as of FY16. The campus includes a number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-rated buildings, including the South Site Entrance Building (SSEB), Cafe, Science and Technology Facility (STF), Energy Systems Integration Facility, and Research Support Facility (RSF), all of which are LEED Platinum. The parking garage is designed to LEED Platinum as well. In addition, an expansion of the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility (IBRF) is LEED Gold. The SSEB and RSF are also designed to net zero energy. The STM has eight solar PV systems on the campus: 94 kilowatts at the STF, 524 kilowatts at the RSF Visitors Parking lot, a total of 857 kilowatts on the RSF, 1,153 kilowatts at the Parking Garage, 16.1 kilowatts on the SSEB, 720 kilowatts on the Mesa Top, and 14.8 kilowatts on the Solar Energy Research Facility. The STM campus also reported 100% compliance with the Guiding Principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings for the Science and Technology Facility, the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility addition, the Energy Systems Integration Facility, the Research Support Facility, the Cafeteria and the South Site Entrance Building.

The 182,500-square-foot LEED Platinum Energy Systems Integration Facility features 14 laboratories, an Insight Visualization Center, a High-Bay Control Room, and the most energy efficient super computer in the world. Learn more.

Energy Use

  • Office space designed to have an energy use intensity of 25 kBtu per square-foot, per year
  • Non-data center space was designed to perform 30% better than ASHRAE 90.1 2007 standards
  • Natural ventilation through operable windows
  • About 80% of regularly occupied spaces have daylighting
  • Open office design and a narrow floor plate of 60 feet
  • LED lights with a lighting control system
  • Radiant heating and cooling.

Sustainability

  • About 27% of building materials contain recycled content.

Water Conservation

  • Dual flush water closets
  • Low-flow fixtures, including toilets, urinals, showers, and faucets
  • Thermosyphon cooler significantly reduces the need for data center cooling tower water use.

The 362,055-square-foot Research Support Facility (RSF) is an award-winning model for LEED Platinum, net zero, and high-performance building design that incorporates the best energy efficiency and environmental performance technologies and practices in a large-scale commercial office building. Learn more about RSF community awards for sustainability.

Energy Use

  • Designed to have an energy use intensity of 35 kBtu per square-foot, per year
  • Designed to perform 50% better than ASHRAE 90.1 2007 standards, or a commercial office building to current commercial code
  • 2.5 megawatt rooftop photovoltaic system including systems on the two campus parking garages generates as much energy as the building consumes
  • Energy efficient data center uses evaporative cooling, outside air ventilation, waste heat capture, and more efficient servers to reduce the data centers energy use by 50% over traditional approaches
  • Daylighting from south-facing windows is reflected to the ceiling and deep into the space with light-reflecting devices
  • Transpired solar collectors passively preheat outside air on the buildings south face before delivery to the labyrinth and occupied space for heating
  • ENERGY STAR-certified energy efficient appliances and computing equipment.

Water Conservation

  • Dual flush water closets
  • Low-flow toilets, urinals, showers, and faucets
  • Roof drainage irrigates rain gardens.

Designed to be a net zero energy building, the 1,660-square-foot, LEED Platinum South Site Entrance Building facilitates security services to those using that entrance as an entry/exit point. Learn More.

Energy Use

  • Daylighting
  • Natural ventilation, including a 35-foot tall wind-catch tower and under-floor air distribution system
  • 16.1 kW roof-mounted PV
  • Geothermal water-to-water heat pump
  • Radiant heating and cooling
  • LED lights with a lighting control system.

Sustainability

  • More than 35% percent of building materials contain recycled content
  • 2.5% of building materials are rapidly renewable
  • Low-emitting building materials.

The 71,347-square-foot Science and Technology Facility (S&TF) was the first federal LEED Platinum building. Learn more.

Energy Use

The building was designed to provide a 41% reduction in energy cost compared to a standard laboratory building.

  • Roof uses ENERGY STAR-certified materials
  • Building design exceeds ASHRAE 90.1 1999 requirements for energy efficiency
  • Windows on the north and south facades provide natural lighting
  • Energy is recovered from exhaust air to temperature-condition fresh air
  • Displacement ventilation is used for the offices
  • High-efficiency chiller saves energy for both the S&TF and the adjoining Solar Energy Research Facility.

Sustainability

  • About 27% of the total building materials were manufactured within a 500-mile radius
  • No chlorofluorocarbon based refrigerants used in the heating, refrigerating, and air-conditioning
  • About 80% (by weight) of the construction, demolition, and land-clearing waste was recycled or salvaged
  • At least 25% of the total building materials were composed of 20% post-consumer waste recycled content.

Water Conservation

  • Storm water collects on the butterfly roof over the office and then flows over the spout at the east end of the building into a series of ponds used to irrigate the landscape
  • Low-flow fixtures, such as ultra-low-flow (0.5 gallon per flush) urinals.

The 27,000-square-foot LEED Gold Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility features a high-bay biochemical conversion pilot plant that handles up to one ton of dry biomass per day, multiple stand-alone fermentation systems, and compositional analysis laboratories. Learn more.

Energy Use

  • Natural ventilation through operable windows
  • Daylighting
  • Open office design
  • LED lights with a lighting control system.

The 12,140-square-foot LEED Platinum Cafeteria (Caf) holds 250 occupants and uses about 25% less energy than a cafeteria built to current commercial code. Read more.

Energy Use

  • Designed to have an energy use intensity of 150 kBtu per square-foot, per year
  • Daylighting and tubular skylights achieve uniform light distribution across the main dining area space to limit the use of electric lighting
  • ENERGY STAR-certified appliances and other high-efficiency equipment reduces the building's need for power
  • A kitchen ventilation system with demand-controlled exhaust hoods
  • Cutting-edge duct grease sensors monitor build-up and alert the operator when cleaning is necessary
  • LED lights with occupancy sensors in the walk-in refrigerator, freezers, and hoods that turn on and off automatically.

Sustainability

  • Locally sourced, Colorado Proud foods, where feasible
  • All to-go containers, utensils, and straws are compostable.

Water Conservation

  • Dual-rinse, water conserving dishwashers
  • Methods for recycling stormwater
  • Low-flow, pre-rinse water valves.

NRELs parking garage is designed to LEED Platinum standards and is expected to perform 90% better than a standard garage built to code. The 578,320-square-foot structure has 1,800 parking spaces and 36 electric vehicle charging stations. Read more.

Energy Use

  • Daylighting and translucent skylights
  • Natural ventilation
  • 1.2 MW of faade- and roof-mounted photovoltaics used within the energy boundary of the Research Support Facility
  • LED lights with a lighting control system.

Sustainability

  • Bird-friendly glass
  • Thirty-six electric vehicle charging stations
  • Incentive parking for high-occupant vehicles and low-emitting vehicles
  • About 35% of building materials contain recycled content
  • Low-emitting building materials
  • Recycling drop-off center for paper, plastic, glass, batteries, and electronics.

Water Conservation

  • Drainage swale to encourage ground infiltration of stormwater and snowmelt.

NRELs first showcase building constructed in 1994, the 6,459-square-foot Education Center proudly displays technologies that can save energy, create jobs, and generate clean electricity and fuels from plentiful domestic, carbon-free sources. Learn more.

Energy Use

  • Trombe wall that lights and heats the exhibit hall
  • Direct evaporative cooling system
  • LED lights with a lighting control system
  • Energy management system monitors temperature, humidity, and occupancy.