The Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) is a unique laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in Gaithersburg, Md. This facility, operated by the Energy and Environment Division in NIST's Engineering Laboratory, will allow researchers to test various high-efficiency and alternative energy systems, materials, and designs.
During the first year of operation, NIST researchers will simulate a family of four living in an energy efficient home and monitor how the house performs. The goal is to demonstrate that a net-zero energy house—one that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year—can fit into any neighborhood. Following the year-long experiment, the facility will be used to test existing and new energy efficient technologies and develop methods of test that better reflect how those technologies will perform in a real home, rather than a laboratory.