NIST Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility

Various team members and green-building industry figures gathered on the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology campus in Gaithersburg, Md., on Sept. 12 to formally unveil the New-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility. Included in the group were Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council; Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Department of Energy; Hunter Fanney, chief of the energy and environment division at NIST; Stella Fiotes, director of the office of facilities and property management at NIST; and S. Shyam Sunder, director of the energy laboratory at NIST.

The Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility will not be lived in. Mechanical controls and computerized equipment, located in the garage to the west of the house, will simulate the use of the facility by a four-person family and small devices in the house will emit heat to simulate the humidity and heat generated by human occupants. The PV arrays should produce enough power to supply the structure and excess power will be fed into the local grid. A bioretention pond, seen in the foreground and down the hill, is one of several on site that will be used to collect stormwater.

A two-foot-thick light-colored gravel perimeter around the home (seen here from the east side) captures stormwater and channels it to collection tubes below. Two photovoltaic arrays are located on the north, front side of the home.

The building envelope features advanced framing and insulation techniques with a basement slab of R-11, exterior below-grade walls of R-25, exterior above-grade walls of R-48, and a roof with an insulation value of R-75.

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