Gallery: National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Net-Zero Ener...

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government science lab that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently unveiled its Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility. But like a real-life version of the Sims, the house is
 
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government science lab that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently unveiled its Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility. But like a real-life version of the Sims, the house is inhabited not by real people, but by a virtual family. Built at a cost of $2.5 million in Gaithersburg, Md., near Washington, D.C., the test house includes extensive monitoring devices and computer equipment that will simulate the presence and activities of a family of four. A NIST announcement says that “No actual humans will be allowed to enter the house during this [first year] so that researchers can monitor how the house performs, but lights will turn on and off at specified times, hot water and appliances will run – and small devices will emit heat and humidity just as people would.”

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