Take a sneak peek at the new NIST.gov and let us know what you think!
(Please note: some content may not be complete on the beta site.).

View the beta site
NIST logo

A. Hunter Fanney
Senior Research Scientist, Energy and Environment Division
Engineering Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology
(301) 975-5864


Bookmark and Share
NZERTF house

Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF)

NZERTF house

North (rear) side of completed NZERTF with landscaping in place.

NZERTF house

Photo showing front and west side of completed facility.


The Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) is a unique laboratory at the National Institute of Standards (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md. A net-zero energy home produces at least as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year.

Both a laboratory and a house, the two-story, four bedrooms, three-bath NZERTF would blend in nicely in a new suburban subdivision. It was designed and built to be approximately 60 percent more energy efficient than homes built to meet the requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.

During the first year of operation (July 2013 – June 2014) the house exceeded its goal with enough surplus energy to power an electric car for about 1400 miles. Instead of paying almost $4,400 for electricity – the estimated annual bill for a comparable home in Maryland – the virtual family of four residing in the all-electric home actually exported energy to the electric grid. Additional details can be found by reading “NIST Test House Exceeds Goal; Ends Year with Energy to Spare”.

During the second year of testing, the NZERTF quadrupled the amount of excess energy it sent to the grid relative to the first year, 2139 versus 484 kilowatt hours.  This significant improvement was a result of Changes in Operational Strategy associated with the heating and ventilation systems and milder weather.

Hardware and software changes are currently being implemented to enable the third year of evaluation with emphases on the impact air of distribution systems on thermal comfort.