NREL Energy Systems Integration Facility dedicated Wednesday

By: InnovatioNews Thursday September 12, 2013 0 comments Tags: ESIF, Golden, JE Dunn Construction, NREL, Rodd Merchant, SmithGoupJR

NREL logoGOLDEN - A new $135 million Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) was dedicated Wednesday at the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) campus in Golden.

Built and designed by SmithGroupJR and JE Dunn Construction, ESIF is a model in sustainable design and energy efficient performance where scientists and engineers can collaborate on the development and delivery of renewable energy technologies.

ESIF will house the most powerful and energy efficient data center in the world dedicated solely to renewable energy and energy efficiency research and will transform the nation's energy infrastructure, the builders said.

SmithGroupJJR, a recognized leader in architecture, engineering and planning, served as designer of the three-story, 182,500-square-foot research complex. JE Dunn Construction performed as general contractor for the design-build venture.

Located southeast of the existing SmithGroupJJR-designed Science & Technology Facility, the ESIF is the nation's only facility that can conduct integrated megawatt-scale testing of the components and strategies needed to safely move clean energy technologies onto the electrical grid "in-flight" at the speed and scale required to meet federal policy.

A showcase of sustainable design, the ESIF incorporates the best in energy efficiency, environmental performance, and advanced controls using a "whole building" integrated design approach that complies with Energy Star standards.

SmithGroupJJR and JE Dunn worked together to support the Department of Energy's goal to develop an energy efficient building that imparts minimal impact on the environment. The ESIF is designed to earn a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, and is anticipated to become the highest certified facility of its type to include a high performance computing data center as a major building component.

"Thanks to NREL's meticulous attention to detail and the inspiring innovations of the scientists and researchers housed within the ESIF, our team was challenged and encouraged to think outside the box and deliver an intricate design and construction approach for this one-of-a-kind facility," said Rodd Merchant, senior VP at JE Dunn Construction and manager of the design-build team. "Today, we see the hard work of so many come to fruition."

Comprised of 14 laboratories, a high bay control room, outdoor testing pads, an ultra-green office building, and a high performance computing data center, the facility houses 200 researchers dedicated to delivering emerging solar, hydrogen, biofuel and wind technologies to the mainstream marketplace.

Central to the laboratories is the Research Electrical Distribution Bus (REDB), the nation's first integrated, megawatt-scale hardware-in-the-loop real-time simulation system. The REDB allows researchers and manufacturers to conduct integration tests at full power and actual load levels in real-time simulation, and evaluate component and system performance before going to market.

The ESIF office building has achieved an energy consumption rate (EUI) of 23.0 kBTU per square foot annually, 74% better than the national average. Power usage effectiveness (PUE) rate for the data center is 1.04; the national average data center PUE ranges between 1.5 and 2.0.

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