Zero-Energy Residential Test Facility Unveiled

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s new lab is designed to demonstrate a suburban home for a family of four can generate as much energy as it uses in a year.

Officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology cut the ribbon Sept. 12 on a new laboratory intended to prove that a typical-looking suburban home for a family of four can generate as much energy as it uses in a year. After a one-year experiment –- with lights, hot water, and appliances run as though a family lived there, but no one will be inside -- the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility will be used to improve test methods for energy-efficient technologies and develop cost-effective design standards for such homes, according to a news release from the agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The house meets U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards, Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chairman of the council, announced during the ceremony. The facility is two stories tall, has four bedrooms and three baths, and incorporates energy-efficient construction and appliances, solar water heating, and solar photovoltaic systems.

"Results from this lab will show if net-zero home design and technologies are ready for a neighborhood near you," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. "It will also allow development of new design standards and test methods for emerging energy-efficient technologies and, we hope, speed their adoption."

The lab has been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the Department of Energy provided architectural design, training, and management support. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan represented DOE during the ribbon-cutting.

Data from the experiment will shared online. Visit http://www.nist.gov/el/nzertf/ for images, video, and more details.

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