ENERGY STAT: AS OF 2010, THE MOST RECENT YEAR FOR WHICH DATA IS
AVAILABLE, U.S. HYDROPOWER’S ANNUAL ELECTRICITY GENERATION WAS
AROUND 300.3 BILLION KWH.
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utility-scale clean energy grid integration. Hosting roughly 200 researchers
and support staff, the 182,500-square-
foot building draws in natural light with
15-foot-long skylights and enough clere-
story glazing to shut off electrical lights
between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day. Its
high-performance computing (HPC) data
center uses a warm-water cooling system
to achieve a power usage effectiveness
rating of 1.06 or better, significantly
lower than the typical rating of approxi-
mately 1.80. The data center’s waste heat
is used to heat high bay labs.
The employee eatery, the NREL Cafe,
sources food locally, and its commercial-grade kitchen employs water conservation efforts. The campus also adheres
to comprehensive recycling and composting programs. Other green features
include extensive use of native and
xeriscape vegetation, building materials
that incorporate recycled content, and
stormwater recycling strategies.
As the primary proving ground
for energy efficiency in the U.S.,
the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory (NREL) strives to develop
new technologies to save energy. But for
their campus in Golden, CO, they relied
on tried and tested technology.
NREL wanted its buildings to serve
as models for how to create sustainable
buildings and campuses, so they stuck
to widely available materials and design
“These buildings are highly repli-
cable,” says Shanti Pless, senior energy
efficiency research engineer for NREL.
“A project developer can take what
we’ve done here and apply it in the
marketplace. It performs as promised
and is cost-effective, maintainable, and
The newest addition to the campus is
the Energy Systems Integration Facil-
ity, the only lab in the U.S. focused on
NREL’s High-Performance Campus
SIX LEED PLATINUM BUILDINGS on NREL’s South
Table Mountain campus serve as models for how to
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THE RESEARCH SUPPORT FACILITY boasts off-the-shelf green features like daylighting, rooftop PV,
natural ventilation, and an ultra-efficient data center.