NIST Testing Net-zero Home

nist NIST Testing Net zero Home

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announcedthat it will test a new, solar-powered, net-zero-energy home on itsGaithersburg, Md., campus. At the same time it announced that it willinstall nearly 600 kilowatts of photovoltaics on the campus to helppower its onsite energy needs.

The home will allow NIST to test various photovoltaic technologies on what would appear to be a traditional suburban Maryland home. NISTbroke ground on the 2,700-square-foot Net-Zero Energy Residential TestFacility last week and will start evaluating the efficiency of theinstalled technologies when the home is completed in July 2012, saidNIST spokesperson Jennifer Huergo.

The home is being designed to show that what looks like a typicalhome can save a tremendous amount of energy, according to Huergo.

“It’s test bed for residential technology,” she said. “So whatthey’re working on is the measurement science behind these differenttechnologies. We’ll have this test bed that shows how [well] they do.”

The home will be locked up for a year, except for any necessary repairs.

“They’re not going to make changes. It will have people simulators,”Huergo said. “That first year, they’re going to prove it is a net-zero home. After that, it becomes a test bed for different technologies.”

To help evaluate the home, it has a lot of sensing equipment that normal homes don’t have, Huergo said.

“From your home, you get very little information. In the future, you will want a smarter home,” she said.

The home will have photovoltaics on its roof as well as a solar thermal water heater. The array, whichwill be on the home’s southern facing roof, will be re-configurable,allowing for systems that range from 1.6 kilowatts to 9.7 kWs, according to Huergo.

NIST also is installing roughly 600 kWs of photovoltaics at itsGaithersburg facility. The photovoltaics will set up at variouslocations and will include a 270-kW ground-mounted array, a 73-kWrooftop array, an 8.4-kW rooftop array and a 242-kW carport array,Huergo said.

“It’s going to help us reduce the amount of energy we pull from the grid,” she said. “Since we’re NIST, we evaluate everything.”

Image courtesy of NIST.