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Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Program


The objective of the Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Program is to develop and deploy advances in measurement science to move the nation toward net-zero energy, high-performance buildings while maintaining a healthy indoor environment.


Buildings account for 41 % of the primary energy consumption and 74 % of the electricity consumption in the United States, while accounting for 40 % of the CO2 emissions. To minimize the costs associated with building energy consumption, NIST will develop and deploy the measurement science to move the nation towards net-zero energy, high-performance buildings in a cost-effective manner while maintaining a healthy indoor environment. The research program will target the objective of net-zero operation by 1) reducing heating and cooling loads within the building, 2) developing measurement science for efficient heating and cooling equipment, 3) advancing the measurements of onsite energy generation technologies such as photovoltaics and micro-cogeneration, 4) evaluating the energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, economics, and sustainability from a whole-building perspective, and 5) aggressively promoting implementation of program results in building energy codes, standards, and practices.  

The program supports the measurement science needs identified by the NSTC Subcommittee on Buildings Technology Research and Development, specifically in the areas of performance metric integration, product and material life cycle assessment, and indoor environmental quality. The work carried out in this program aligns with the EL mission by promoting U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by anticipating and meeting the measurement science and standards needs to “Support American Leadership in Clean Energy” and “Reduce Building Energy Use” as identified by OMB and OSTP as priorities for FY2013. The research builds upon EL’s core competency in energy-efficient and intelligent operation of buildings with healthy indoor environments. The research also supports EL’s strategic goal of Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Manufacturing, Materials, and Infrastructure, specifically by enabling energy-efficient buildings. NIST’s combination of technical expertise in building energy use, combustion, indoor air quality, building materials, and building economics creates a unique team that can address the interconnected issues that affect the evaluation of high-performance buildings.

Major Accomplishments:

Some recent accomplishments for the Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Program include: