National Renewable Energy Laboratory Energy Systems Integration Facility
Since the goal is sustainability for the nation's energy supply—research, development and megawatt-scale testing of transmission and distribution-level components for future supply and demand systems—plans for the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) needed to integrate clean and sustainable energy sources and management; the facility must lead by example.
The first of its kind in the country, ESIF houses 200 scientists and engineers in more than 14 highly sophisticated laboratories that include high bay testing spaces and the world's most powerful computing data center dedicated to energy efficiency and renewables.
In spite of the raw power needed for this research, ESIF's design achieves an ultra-green workplace by employing the most efficient technology available (including computing), recycling waste energy for heating, and under-floor air distribution among other strategies for cooling and ventilation. ESIF was named the 2014 Lab of the Year by R&D Magazine.
NREL ESIF Supercomputer Facility
To support the data analysis required by the various research experiments performed at the ESIF, the facility houses one of the premier data centers in the world. Taking advantage of the regional climate, direct and indirect evaporative cooling is used for most of the year to achieve the environmental limits specified in the Thermal Guidelines for ASHRAE Class 1 data centers, without the need for a traditional refrigeration system. Utilizing direct water-cooled data cabinets in combination with hot aisle containment strategies, the high-power density computing center can operate at an extremely low PUE of 1.06, making it one of the most efficient operating data centers in the world.