6:00am

Mon July 4, 2011
Green building

NREL Office a Model for Energy Efficiency

The Research Support Facility on the campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, has received top marks for energy efficiency. 

The facility has been certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, an internationally recognized green building certification system.  NREL’s new office is about 70 percent more efficient than their last. 

“We added a thousand people at NREL over the last four years, so we have more people using it and it’s a bigger data center than we use to have, but we’re saving over $200,000 a year by being smarter about how we put our data center together and how we cool it,” says Shanti Pless, a senior research engineer at NREL. 

Pless says its architecture incorporates new techniques, like solar panels, as well as old design elements, like keeping the width narrow so all offices have natural light.  The building was constructed within its government mandated budget with commercially available materials and technologies.  It is hoped it will be an example for other government facilities which need to meet new energy efficiency standards by 2030.