The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus in Golden, Colorado has just added its newest Research Support Facility, a 222,000 square foot zero-energy office building. This is the nation’s largest zero-energy building, which will hold 800 employees once it opens in August.
The Research Support Facility is deemed zero-energy because it creates as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. Power is mainly generated from solar panels. The building also makes efficient use of natural light and takes advantage of the earth’s natural heating and cooling processes. The typical office building spends 30 percent of energy on lighting alone, so the Research Support Facility incorporates smart designs that tell employees when it’s optimal to open or close their windows.
The Department of Energy anticipates a LEED Platinum Rating, the highest level of certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council, for their achievement in green building. Their hope is for this facility to be a showcase for energy-efficient design. The Department of Energy will share its design in a how-to manual featured on their website this fall.
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