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Research and Development Opportunities for the NIST Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility



Paul D. Domich, Betsy Pettit, Arthur H. Fanney, William M. Healy


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding built the Net Zero Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) as a NIST laboratory in the form of a typical residence to measure performance and document new building technologies and designs for achieving net-zero energy consumption. The style and size of the house is typical of a residence that might be built in the local suburban area for a family of four, offer the modern amenities typically found in single-family housing, and meet the needs of a typical family of four while achieving net-zero site energy use on an annual basis. The laboratory's measurement and testing systems operate independent of the residential systems. Net-zero energy use was accomplished through the combination of low space-conditioning loads due to a high-performance envelope, efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, low-energy lighting fixtures and appliances, and site-generated renewable energy using solar photovoltaic and thermal systems. The facility is capable of using and evaluating performance of typical earth-source geothermal heating systems. This paper describes future research and development topics that can be performed in the NZERTF. Through focused interviews, research topics were solicited from twenty-two organizations familiar with net-zero energy buildings. Research topic areas contained in this report include: envelope design, window systems and glazings, site considerations, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, renewable energy technologies, control systems, and in situ performance testing and building commissioning.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1869
Report Number


Research and development, Net-zero energy residential design, high performance enclosures and building components, energy efficiency, water reuse and conservation.


Domich, P. , Pettit, B. , Fanney, A. and Healy, W. (2015), Research and Development Opportunities for the NIST Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created March 25, 2015, Updated October 12, 2021