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A House? A Laboratory? NIST's Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility



Arthur H. Fanney


In 2012 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) completed the construction of a Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve net-zero for a house with conventional architecture, amenities, and size compared to homes in the surrounding area. The facility also serves as a test bed to evaluate residential renewable and energy efficient technologies and various approaches to improving indoor air quality. Built on NIST’s Gaithersburg, MD campus, this LEED Platinum home incorporates a vast array of renewable and energy efficient technologies. Unique features include three independent ground source heat exchangers, a radiant basement floor heating system, a solar hot water system with variable solar collector area and storage capacity, a 10.2 kW photovoltaic system, and a ducted heat recovery ventilation system. The facility also incorporates three different means of providing conditioned air throughout the house – a sealed sheet metal air distribution system; a high-velocity air distribution system; and provisions to incorporate a multi-head mini split heat pump system.
High Performance Buildings Magazine
Fall 2016
Fall 2016


net-zero energy buildings, photovoltaic, solar thermal, heat recovery ventilator, indoor air quality, test facility


Fanney, A. (2016), A House? A Laboratory? NIST's Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility, High Performance Buildings Magazine, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created September 14, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017