|Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - RNL Architects|
|Monday, 27 June 2011 09:40|
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The RSF is a large-scale office building housing more than 800 people who support and conduct research work. The building also houses a data center that serves the entire NREL campus. NREL and DOE's goal is to transform innovative research in renewable energy and energy efficiency into market-viable technologies and practices. This building was conceived to serve as an example of these ideas and a living laboratory for the staff of the RSF to learn from and work by, providing a high-performance workplace and aiming at operating at net-zero energy on an annual basis.
The project is recipient of the 2011 AIA COTE Awards, and the article is an abbreviated version of the one posted on AIA’s web site.
As the client at NREL explained to the design team: "every design decision has an energy impact." The net-zero energy goal for this project amplified every design decision and explicitly shaped the building and resulted in a positive impact on the program and functionality of the building.
Land Use & Community
Integrated into an existing campus, the Research Support Facility enables previously separated staff to come together in one location. It creates outdoor pedestrian spaces designed to entice employees to utilize courtyards. Shuttles, city buses, bike parking, and minimized on-site parking opportunities encourage employees to use alternate methods of transportation. In fact, the bike parking is regularly full and in high demand.
Site DescriptionThe building and site are part of the overall ecosystem and are rooted with a strong sense of place. The building is formed around the forces and natural resources of the climate and the site. The building responds not only to sun and wind but also to the natural lay of the land and the context of the existing campus. The landscape design paid particular attention to natural stormwater management techniques, open space preservation, permeable paving systems, native landscape integration, use of high-albedo pavements, and the innovative use of onsite excavated rock for gabion walls.
The integration of the landscaping has already proven to be a successful creation of habitat, with frequent visits from a local herd of deer and other wildlife. The site creates a natural, beautiful and comfortable exterior space to enjoy while strongly contributing to the overall campus master plan.
Water Conservation and Use
Although rainwater cannot be captured, per Colorado water laws, the project still used the roof area of the project to determine a water use budget. In an average year, a little more than 797,000 gallons of water falls on the roof of the building. The building and site water uses are modeled at just over 791,000 gallons per year.
The site design for the project works in tune with the existing natural hydrology. The strategies include a series of rain gardens for roof drainage collection, porous paving within the courtyards, and bioswales to connect water collection points to the existing natural arroyo system of the campus. This allows precipitation to infiltrate the soil and take on patterns of drainage consistent with its pre-developed hydrology.
|Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2011 12:01|