How NREL Consumes 74% Less Energy Than National Average for Office Buildings

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory consumes 74% less energy than the national average for office space. NREL has a supercomputer, a plug-and-play megawatt smart grid and laboratories. The lab used state-of-the-art technologies to achieve the savings and took advantage of incentives from utility Xcel Energy. The total project cost of the efficiency efforts was $596,486, the lab got $259,915 in rebates, and the investment is expected to pay back in a little more than a year. Shanti Pless, senior research engineer at NREL explains what NREL did in this podcast.

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  1. Really informative podcast — thanks! Eye-opening regarding the realm of possibilities for making office space more efficient. One measure that could be fruitfully pursued further is plug loads. You discussed efforts to manage the load (the equipment) plugged into the outlet … you can deliver additional savings by improving how you bring power to the outlet. A high-efficiency distribution transformer feeding power to those outlets will reduce energy losses when the circuit is loaded, and very importantly, even when there’s no load on the circuit, because the transformer is energized 24/7. So facility managers will incur the losses of an inefficient transformer, or reap the benefits of an efficient one, around the clock for the 30-40-year life of the transformer. And there are tens of thousands of these transformers in operation across the US. And, that’s the logic behind DoE’s updated standard for efficiency of dry-type distribution transformers (10 CFR Part 431 and Federal Register 2013-08712). Over more than 10 years Powersmiths has been measuring the losses of these transformers and retrofitting them with units that exceed the new DOE 2016 efficiency requirements, typically embedding 60-75% of savings.