Initial Business Case Analysis of Two Integrated Heat Pump HVAC Systems for Near-Zero-Energy Homes - Update to Include Evaluation of Impact of Including a Humidifier Option

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The long range strategic goal of the Department of Energy's Building Technologies (DOE/BT) Program is to create, by 2020, technologies and design approaches that enable the construction of net-zero energy homes at low incremental cost (DOE/BT 2005). A net zero energy home (NZEH) is a residential building with greatly reduced needs for energy through efficiency gains, with the balance of energy needs supplied by renewable technologies. While initially focused on new construction, these technologies and design approaches are intended to have application to buildings constructed before 2020 as well resulting in substantial reduction in energy use for all building types ... continued below

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Baxter, Van D February 1, 2007.

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Description

The long range strategic goal of the Department of Energy's Building Technologies (DOE/BT) Program is to create, by 2020, technologies and design approaches that enable the construction of net-zero energy homes at low incremental cost (DOE/BT 2005). A net zero energy home (NZEH) is a residential building with greatly reduced needs for energy through efficiency gains, with the balance of energy needs supplied by renewable technologies. While initially focused on new construction, these technologies and design approaches are intended to have application to buildings constructed before 2020 as well resulting in substantial reduction in energy use for all building types and ages. DOE/BT's Emerging Technologies (ET) team is working to support this strategic goal by identifying and developing advanced heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and water heating (HVAC/WH) technology options applicable to NZEHs. In FY05 ORNL conducted an initial Stage 1 (Applied Research) scoping assessment of HVAC/WH systems options for future NZEHs to help DOE/BT identify and prioritize alternative approaches for further development. Eleven system concepts with central air distribution ducting and nine multi-zone systems were selected and their annual and peak demand performance estimated for five locations: Atlanta (mixed-humid), Houston (hot-humid), Phoenix (hot-dry), San Francisco (marine), and Chicago (cold). Performance was estimated by simulating the systems using the TRNSYS simulation engine (Solar Energy Laboratory et al. 2006) in two 1800-ft{sup 2} houses--a Building America (BA) benchmark house and a prototype NZEH taken from BEopt results at the take-off (or crossover) point (i.e., a house incorporating those design features such that further progress towards ZEH is through the addition of photovoltaic power sources, as determined by current BEopt analyses conducted by NREL). Results were summarized in a project report, HVAC Equipment Design options for Near-Zero-Energy Homes--A Stage 2 Scoping Assessment, ORNL/TM-2005/194 (Baxter 2005). The 2005 study report describes the HVAC options considered, the ranking criteria used, and the system rankings by priority. In 2006, the two top-ranked options from the 2005 study, air-source and ground-source versions of a centrally ducted integrated heat pump (IHP) system, were subjected to an initial business case study. The IHPs were subjected to a more rigorous hourly-based assessment of their performance potential compared to a baseline suite of equipment of legally minimum efficiency that provided the same heating, cooling, water heating, demand dehumidification, and ventilation services as the IHPs. Results were summarized in a project report, Initial Business Case Analysis of Two Integrated Heat Pump HVAC Systems for Near-Zero-Energy Homes, ORNL/TM-2006/130 (Baxter 2006a). The present report is an update to that document which summarizes results of an analysis of the impact of adding a humidifier to the HVAC system to maintain minimum levels of space relative humidity (RH) in winter. The space RH in winter has direct impact on occupant comfort and on control of dust mites, many types of disease bacteria, and 'dry air' electric shocks. Chapter 8 in ASHRAE's 2005 Handbook of Fundamentals (HOF) suggests a 30% lower limit on RH for indoor temperatures in the range of {approx}68-69F based on comfort (ASHRAE 2005). Table 3 in chapter 9 of the same reference suggests a 30-55% RH range for winter as established by a Canadian study of exposure limits for residential indoor environments (EHD 1987). Harriman, et al (2001) note that for RH levels of 35% or higher, electrostatic shocks are minimized and that dust mites cannot live at RH levels below 40%. They also indicate that many disease bacteria life spans are minimized when space RH is held within a 30-60% range. From the foregoing it is reasonable to assume that a winter space RH range of 30-40% would be an acceptable compromise between comfort considerations and limitation of growth rates for dust mites and many bacteria. In addition it reports some corrections made to the simulation models used in order to correct some errors in the TRNSYS building model for Atlanta and in the refrigerant pressure drop calculation in the water-to-refrigerant evaporator module of the ORNL Heat Pump Design Model (HPDM) used for the IHP analyses. These changes resulted in some minor differences between IHP performance as reported in Baxter (2006) and in this report.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2007/021
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/930897 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 930897
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc897989

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  • February 1, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 4:36 p.m.

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Baxter, Van D. Initial Business Case Analysis of Two Integrated Heat Pump HVAC Systems for Near-Zero-Energy Homes - Update to Include Evaluation of Impact of Including a Humidifier Option, report, February 1, 2007; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897989/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.