Test facility set to demonstrate net-zero energy usage

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled a laboratory designed to demonstrate how a suburban home can generate as much energy as it uses in a year.

Said to be built to US Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards, the two-storey, four-bedroom, three-bath Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility incorporates energy-efficient construction and appliances, plus energy-generating technologies, including solar water heating and solar photovoltaic systems.

According to NIST, the solar photovoltaic system will generate electricity to power lights and appliances when weather permits and excess energy will be sent back to the local utility grid via a smart electric meter.

The house will draw energy from the grid on days it cannot generate enough on its own, but over the course of a year it will produce enough to make up for that purchased energy, for a net-zero energy usage.