Golden, Colorado [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] A partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will move forward energy-efficient home construction in California while advancing energy-efficient home research at NREL.The signing of a formal agreement this week establishes a collaboration between NREL and SMUD in which SMUD will participate in NREL’s research and development activities on high-performance, energy-efficient homes. This multi-year agreement allows NREL researchers to evaluate cost and performance improvements in homes that are supported by SMUD and are constructed in their service territory. SMUD will share data with NREL from these collaborative projects, including utility bill information, impacts on their distribution system, energy and peak demand information, and performance of photovoltaic systems used in the projects. “NREL’s research is aiming for a 70 percent reduction in energy use in homes without compromising comfort or convenience. The intent is to provide the remaining 30 percent through onsite power supplied by photovoltaics, making the house a net zero energy user,” said Bobi A. Garrett, NREL Associate Director of Planning and Technology Management. NREL’s research promotes the development and implementation of innovative, energy-efficient building processes and technologies by the residential building industry. As lead technical advisor for the Building America program, NREL participates in strategic planning, research and design, development of construction processes, testing and evaluation, and outreach activities. This partnership is SMUD’s most recent activity aimed at advancing the energy-efficient housing market. In SMUD’s rapidly growing service territory, residential construction constitutes a large portion of the overall energy load growth and peak energy demand for electricity. SMUD is promoting the next-generation of home construction designs and systems with the goal of making them standard practice among local builders.