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Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings

The primary core competency for the Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Strategic Priority Area is measurement science for building energy technologies. Secondary core competencies for this area include information, communication, and automation technologies for the intelligent integration of building design, construction, and operations and procedures to aid the designer in evaluating and making decisions about trade-offs.

Areas of expertise within this Strategic Priority Area include energy efficiency, renewable and distributed energy sources, indoor air quality, building controls, alternative refrigerants, ventilation strategies, economics, and codes and standards. The BFRL divisions that are active in this Strategic Priority Area are the Building Environment Division (BED), the Office of Applied Economics (OAE), and the Fire Research Division (FRD). Groups within the BED include HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigerating) Equipment Performance, Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems, Mechanical Systems and Controls, Computer-Integrated Building Processes, and Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation.

TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART

The high level of expertise and knowledge of the staff working in this Strategic Priority Area is apparent. For example, the volatile organic compound emission measurement and carbon monoxide emission from emergency power generation measurement projects and the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, are good examples of groundbreaking measurement science research. Also, the application of airflow laser velocimetry and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to expand the capabilities of heat exchanger simulation models is state of the art.

Even though the work within this Strategic Priority Goal Area is of high quality, especially in the areas noted above, additional steps can be taken to enhance the effectiveness of some activities. For example, the work on solar photovoltaic panel performance mapping could be groundbreaking if the appropriate solar spectrum for various typical seasonal and geographical locations can be simulated. In addition, the research in wireless data communications does not seem well connected to other current work outside the laboratory. These two areas are examples of how the work of the BFRL could benefit from more collaboration with work outside the laboratory, with federal agencies, academia, and nongovernmental organizations.

Work in the Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings goal area is becoming better coordinated with that of other federal agencies. BFRL staff were heavily involved in the development of the 2008 report Federal Research and Development Agenda for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Green



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2 Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings The primary core competency for the Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Strategic Priority Area is measurement science for building energy technologies. Secondary core competencies for this area include information, communication, and automation technologies for the intelligent integration of building design, construction, and operations and procedures to aid the designer in evaluating and making decisions about trade-offs. Areas of expertise within this Strategic Priority Area include energy efficiency, renewable and distributed energy sources, indoor air quality, building controls, alternative refrigerants, ventilation strategies, economics, and codes and standards. The BFRL divisions that are active in this Strategic Priority Area are the Building Environment Division (BED), the Office of Applied Economics (OAE), and the Fire Research Division (FRD). Groups within the BED include HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigerating) Equipment Performance, Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems, Mechanical Systems and Controls, Computer-Integrated Building Processes, and Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation. TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART The high level of expertise and knowledge of the staff working in this Strategic Priority Area is apparent. For example, the volatile organic compound emission measurement and carbon monoxide emission from emergency power generation measurement projects and the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, are good examples of groundbreaking measurement science research. Also, the application of airflow laser velocimetry and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to expand the capabilities of heat exchanger simulation models is state of the art. Even though the work within this Strategic Priority Goal Area is of high quality, especially in the areas noted above, additional steps can be taken to enhance the effectiveness of some activities. For example, the work on solar photovoltaic panel performance mapping could be groundbreaking if the appropriate solar spectrum for various typical seasonal and geographical locations can be simulated. In addition, the research in wireless data communications does not seem well connected to other current work outside the laboratory. These two areas are examples of how the work of the BFRL could benefit from more collaboration with work outside the laboratory, with federal agencies, academia, and nongovernmental organizations. Work in the Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings goal area is becoming better coordinated with that of other federal agencies. BFRL staff were heavily involved in the development of the 2008 report Federal Research and Development Agenda for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Green 9

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Buildings.4 The BFRL’s 2009 priority-setting Workshop on Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy Buildings included invited participants from the private sector, industry trade organizations, universities, the relevant national laboratories, and other federal agencies. Not only did these activities provide a solid foundation for future programs, they also improved the BFRL team’s understanding of what is going on at other national laboratories. The staff members are expanding their knowledge of international standards and measurement technologies, not only through participation in international standard- setting committees but also by participating in cooperative research projects through the International Energy Agency (e.g., developing ways to measure the performance of whole buildings and various subsystems). The staff is generally aware of relevant information from outside sources and has made numerous visits to laboratories in other countries. However, the limited scope of the panel’s review did not permit an assessment of the results of the visits, nor did it reveal the extent to which they are strategically planned—for example, to share best practices, to gather intelligence, or to negotiate access to unique facilities. Overall the programs in this Strategic Priority Area apply interdisciplinary methods and insights to estimate multidimensional impacts and the effectiveness of particular measures and standards. The past few decades have marked a shift from prescriptive standards to performance standards, the latter enabled by modern information and control technologies. In the case of energy-efficient buildings, BFRL’s programmatic emphasis is therefore focusing more on measuring the performance of entire buildings and their increasingly complex subsystems (e.g., cogeneration systems that produce both heat and on-site power) as compared to the performance of individual components. Therefore, simulation modeling appears as an element of many of the projects related to building energy efficiency. Such models can provide insight into the design of test procedures and the selection of test conditions to support labeling of seasonal or annual performance. For example, some NIST projects aim to add functionality to existing simulation programs: for example by understanding how natural or forced ventilation can affect energy efficiency or pollutant distributions within a building. For other projects, complex whole-building-system simulation models that already exist must be simplified to enable real-time fault detection, which requires a continuous comparison of measured performance to simulated performance of individual components or the whole building. ADEQUACY OF INFRASTRUCTURE The current budget plan for this Strategic Priority Area appears adequate for immediate facility and equipment needs. Recent budget increases provide opportunities for benchmarking BFRL facilities and equipment against international facilities and for carefully choosing to invest in the kinds of facilities and equipment required for the BFRL to remain in a leadership position internationally. The construction of the Net- Zero Energy Residential Test Facility at NIST will help the BFRL achieve this objective. 4 Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Technology, Federal Research and Development Agenda for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Green Buildings, Report of the Subcommittee on Buildings Technology Research and Development, Washington, D.C., October 2008. 10

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In general, the funding is adequate to achieve success. Recruiting, however, is impaired by the inability of NIST to hire non-U.S. citizens. Hiring procedures that focus on narrow disciplinary-based areas of expertise also inhibit the ability to hire new Ph.D.’s and other candidates having the desired combination of interdisciplinary skills. Outreach and partnerships with universities (e.g., internships, contract research, etc.) could increase the pool of potential new talent for needed competencies. The BFRL is currently able to meet existing needs, but as more senior researchers retire, replacing them may be difficult. The lack of replacement of key staff may lead to deficiencies in core competencies. On the plus side, there are leadership training and staff development programs in place to develop new technical expertise and technical managers. Outreach programs to students at universities to recruit young talent and handle an increased workload should be continued. Leadership training and staff development programs to improve the level of expertise on the staff should be continued. ACHIEVEMENT OF OBJECTIVES AND IMPACT The BFRL has implemented a Stage-Gate process for project planning. The staff should to continue to manage and prioritize projects using this tool. The staff should refine the metrics of the tool on the basis of experience with project outcomes, and they should do postmortem analyses of projects to learn from the use of the process. Critical solution-enabling tools are being developed to support the energy- efficient operation of buildings. An example is in the area of system simulations and fault detection and diagnosis (FDD). FDD tools developed by NIST have been incorporated into Honeywell’s Alerton line of variable-air-volume-box controllers. The program milestones appear feasible, but priority setting is unclear. To maximize programmatic impact and promote innovation, the net-zero energy buildings group must anticipate and stay ahead of developments in this rapidly changing area. Advances in measurement science are required to support the transition to performance- based standards and intelligent building controls that detect equipment faults. The performance of components, equipment, and whole buildings must be measured across their entire operating envelopes, not simply a single rating point. In addition, protocols are required for communicating performance data from components to equipment to building energy management systems and to the Smart Grid. Anticipating such future needs is not easy. Decades ago, NIST pioneered the development of building simulation models, but today they are far too complex for any single institution to bear the ongoing cost of model development and validation. Yet NIST can and should anticipate needs for adding functionality to simulation models—for example, to understand how natural or forced ventilation can affect energy efficiency and pollutant distributions within a building. Such algorithms should be validated by careful measurements in well-designed experiments, as they have been in NIST’s residential test facilities. Anticipating such needs, however, also requires the construction of new facilities to be as modular and flexible as possible (e.g., movable walls, thermal mass placement), in addition to the exploration of cooperative arrangements with other laboratories that are capable of producing the necessary data. The new NZERTF will have some of these capabilities, which should be included to maximize the flexibility of the facility. 11

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The software tool Loop Design and Analysis (LoopDA) for natural-ventilation design is a good example of a need that was anticipated with ample lead time. However, customer needs are not always anticipated in a timely manner or at a time when adequate resources are available. For example, the production of residential and commercial indoor air cleaners had developed into a half-billion-dollar industry that was making unsupported claims before the need for standardized test procedures and labeling was recognized. New funding and net-zero-building goals may provide the BFRL with the opportunity to develop strategies for anticipating the kinds of measurement science needed to support the transition to performance-based standards and the Smart Grid as well as the multidimensional nature of building performance (the factors of energy, air quality, comfort, and electronic noise). It is also time to consider how the BFRL can exploit its unique position within the Department of Commerce to access the massive U.S. Census Bureau databases needed to calculate carbon footprints and other indirect economic effects of model building codes. The cost of adding such capacity may be substantial, but it could yield great long-term benefit. Dissemination of this important work is effectively handled through conference papers and journal articles, Web site publications, seminars, workshops, and software tools. The close working relationships of the BFRL staff with industrial users of the Reference Fluid Thermodynamic and Transport Properties Database (REFPROP) not only facilitate the dissemination of these important data on thermodynamic and transport properties of refrigerants, but also provide opportunities to help NIST’s Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory anticipate needs for data on new types of fluids. Staff participation in numerous standards development processes contributes to the effectiveness of the laboratory’s work. These include activities of the following: the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials); the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); the International Energy Agency (IEA); and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). CONCLUSIONS While NIST’s capabilities for conducting research on future metrology and standards needs are high, its ability to efficiently stimulate and complement private-sector scientific and technological advances is constrained by other national, state, and local policies. Major uncertainties about likely policy changes in the pricing of carbon emissions or energy (e.g., portfolio standards or feed-in tariffs for renewable energy), and/or the willingness to use regulatory policies to guide the development of technologies significantly more costly than current market forces dictate, continue to complicate targeting and limit the application of NIST’s contributions to high-performance buildings technology. Increased emphasis on measurement science for integrated systems and whole-building performance standards instead of for components alone is necessary, but not sufficient, to enhance U.S. competitiveness. The BFRL has seen significant funding growth in some program areas within the Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Strategic Priority Area and has implemented a Stage-Gate process for project planning. Looking 12

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forward, it is important to make management quality a high enough priority to ensure that new facilities are established successfully and safely and that the processes for setting research and development (R&D) priorities, selecting projects, and Stage-Gate oversight are effective and robust. The high level of expertise and knowledge of the staff in this Strategic Priority Area is apparent. Interdisciplinary methods and insights to estimate multidimensional impacts and the effectiveness of particular measures and standards are leveraged across programs. BFRL’s programmatic emphasis is staying ahead of the requirement of the shift from prescriptive standards to performance standards by focusing more on measuring the performance of entire buildings and their increasingly complex subsystems and model developments as an element of many of the projects related to building energy efficiency. Staff members are generally aware of relevant information from external organizations and have made visits to laboratories in other countries. It is not clear whether sufficient efforts are being undertaken to learn from other countries in which high-performance building technologies are far more advanced. Overall, the current budget plan appears adequate for immediate facility and equipment needs, and funding is adequate to achieve success. Recruiting, however, is impaired by the inability of NIST to hire non-U.S. citizens. Outreach and partnerships with universities (e.g., internships, contract research, etc.) could increase the pool of potential new talent for needed competencies. Within the Stage-Gate process, the staff is encouraged to continue to manage and prioritize projects using this tool and also to do and learn from postmortem analyses of projects, as experience and metrics refinements usually prove beneficial. The area of energy use in buildings is very dynamic, and the BFRL group must anticipate developments and stay ahead of them. However, new funding and net-zero energy building goals ought to provide the BFRL with the opportunity to develop strategies for anticipating the kinds of measurement science needed to support the transition to performance-based standards and the Smart Grid, and to addressing the multidimensional nature of building performance. It is also time to consider how the BFRL can exploit its unique position within the Department of Commerce to access the massive U.S. Census Bureau databases needed to calculate carbon footprints and other indirect economic effects of model building codes. Dissemination is effectively handled through conference papers and journal articles, Web site publications, seminars, workshops, and software tools. The close working relationships of the BFRL staff with industry not only facilitate the dissemination of this important work, but also must provide windows to anticipate opportunities, such as the very urgent need to understand the characteristics of the next generation of non-ozone-depleting, low-global-warming refrigerants. Finally, staff participation in numerous standards development processes contributes to maximizing programmatic impact and promoting innovation, such as in the Net-Zero Energy Buildings program. 13

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RECOMMENDATIONS The recommendations of the panel based on its assessment of the Measurement Science for Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Strategic Priority Area are as follows:  The BFRL should make management quality a high enough priority to ensure that new facilities are established successfully and safely, and that the processes for setting R&D priorities, selecting projects, and Stage-Gate oversight are effective and robust.  With respect to staffing, hiring procedures that focus on narrow, disciplinary- based areas of expertise inhibit the ability to hire candidates with the desired combination of interdisciplinary skills, and they should be reconsidered. Outreach to and partnerships with universities should be pursued to increase the pool of potential new talent for needed competencies and to recruit young talent to handle the increased workload. Leadership training and staff development programs to improve the staff’s level of expertise should be continued. The BFRL should work to prevent the retirement of senior researchers from creating deficiencies in core competencies.  The staff should continue to manage and prioritize projects using the Stage- Gate process and to refine the metrics of this tool based on experience with project outcomes, and they should do postmortem analyses of projects to learn from the use of the process.  The net-zero energy buildings staff must anticipate developments in this rapidly changing area and stay ahead of them.  BFRL staff’s close working relationships with industry must provide windows to anticipate opportunities, such as the very urgent need to understand the characteristics of the next generation of non-ozone-depleting, low-global- warming refrigerants.  The BFRL should consider how it can exploit its unique position within the Department of Commerce to access the massive Census Bureau databases needed to calculate carbon footprints and other indirect economic effects of model building codes.  The BFRL should pursue the benchmarking of its facilities and equipment against international facilities, and it should pursue the careful selection of investments in the kinds of facilities and equipment required for the BFRL to remain in a leadership position internationally.  For the work on solar photovoltaic panel performance mapping and on wireless data communications, more collaboration with outside organizations should be sought.  The performance of components, equipment, and whole buildings must be measured across their entire operating envelopes, not simply a single rating point, and protocols are required for communicating performance data from components to equipment to building energy management systems and to the Smart Grid. 14

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 NIST can and should anticipate needs for adding functionality to simulation models. Algorithms should be validated by careful measurements in well- designed experiments. New facilities should be constructed to be as modular and flexible as possible—the new Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility will have some of these capabilities, which should be included to maximize the flexibility of the facility. Cooperative arrangements with other laboratories that are capable of producing necessary data should be pursued. 15