Description: Traditionally, a ``low-energy`` house has been one that used little energy for space heating. But space heating typically accounts for less than half of the energy used by new US homes, and for low heating energy homes, space heating is often the third largest end use, behind water heating and appliances, and sometimes behind cooling. Low space heat alone cannot identify a low-energy house. To better understand the determinants of a low-energy house, we collected data on housing characteristics, incremental costs, and energy measurements from energy-efficient houses around the world and in a range of climates. We compare the energy required to provide thermal comfort as well as water heating, and other appliances. We do not have a single definition of a low-energy house, but through comparisons of actual buildings, we show how different definitions and quantitative indicators fail. In comparing the energy use of whole houses, weather normalization can be important, but for cases in which heating or cooling energy is surpassed by other end uses, other normalization methods must be used.
Date: August 1, 1994
Creator: Litt, B. R. & Meier, A. K.
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