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


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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.


New Publications Scope Future Research, Detail Design and Operation of NIST’s Net-Zero Energy House



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”.

The following links describe the changes in operational strategy that were made to further improve the energy performance of the NZERTF, the enhanced measurement capabilities that were added to the facility, and a brief summary of tests that were conducted between July 1, 2014 and September 30, 2014 to measure the homes infiltration rate, to evaluate the impact  of elevated indoor temperature on volatile organic (VOC) concentrations, and to quantify the performance of the three earth-coupled heat exchangers surrounding the NZERTF.

On October 1, 2014 the second year of testing began with the changes in operational strategy and enhanced measurement capabilities in place. Monthly results can be found in the Recent Research Results Section.

Due to a hardware failure resulting in significant data loss during the months of December 2014 and January 2015, the second year of testing has been extended to January 31, 2016 to ensure twelve months of complete data. Thus annual results for the second year will include data from February 1 2015 through January 31, 2016.