Reducing Data Center Loads for a Largescale, Low-energy Office Building: NREL’s Research Support Facility


In June 2010, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) completed construction on the new 220,000- square foot (ft2) Research Support Facility (RSF) which included a 1,900-ft2 data center (the RSF will expand to 360,000 ft2 with the opening of an additional wing December, 2011). The project’s request for proposals (RFP) set a whole-building demand-side energy use requirement of a nominal 35 kBtu/ft2 per year. On-site renewable energy generation offsets the annual energy consumption. The original “legacy” data center had annual energy consumption as high as 2,394,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which would have exceeded the total building energy goal. As part of meeting the building energy goal, the RSF data center annual energy use had to be approximately 50% less than the legacy data center’s annual energy use. This report documents the methodology used to procure, construct, and operate an energy-efficient data center suitable for a net-zero-energy-use building.

Author(s): Sheppy, M., C.Lobato, O. Van Geet, S. Pless, K. Donovan, and C. Powers