Designing and Constructing Low-Energy Commercial Buildings

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Successful low-energy building design and construction begins with a strong commitment towards energy efficiency from the architect, engineer, and building owner. Low-energy building design is achieved through a whole building approach where the designers, builders, and operators understand how a building interacts with its systems, its activities and its surrounding environment. Thewhole-building design approach was followed when designing, constructing, and commissioning the Thermal Test Facility (TTF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. The projected savings for this laboratory building are over 70% when compared with a building compliant with the Federal Energy Code (10CFR435). The TTF uses managed glazing, engineered overhangs, agood thermal package, evaporative cooling, passive solar strategies including direct solar gain heating and daylighting, and a well-engineered automatic building control system. This paper discusses the inportant steps to designing, constructing, and commissioning low-energy commercial buildings, experiences gained from constructing the TTF, and preliminary TTF operating data.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 1997
Event22nd National Passive Solar Conference - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Apr 199730 Apr 1997


Conference22nd National Passive Solar Conference
CityWashington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-22683


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