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Building America Best Practices Series, Volume 6: High-Performance Home Technologies: Solar Thermal & Photovoltaic Systems

Description: This guide is was written by PNNL for the US Department of Energy's Building America program to provide information for residential production builders interested in building near zero energy homes. The guide provides indepth descriptions of various roof-top photovoltaic power generating systems for homes. The guide also provides extensive information on various designs of solar thermal water heating systems for homes. The guide also provides construction company owners and managers with an understanding of how solar technologies can be added to their homes in a way that is cost effective, practical, and marketable. Twelve case studies provide examples of production builders across the United States who are building energy-efficient homes with photovoltaic or solar water heating systems.
Date: June 4, 2007
Creator: Baechler, Michael C.; Gilbride, Theresa L.; Ruiz, Kathleen A.; Steward, Heidi E. & Love, Pat M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

On the Path to Zero Energy Homes

Description: Just imagine living in Florida and your fantasies might turn to swaying palms, fresh orange juice and lots of air-conditioning. For most people, a summer spent in Florida's heat and humidity would be unbearable without it. So air-conditioning is a necessity. But it's also a big energy drain, accounting for about 35% of all electricity used in a typical Florida house. As the largest single source of energy consumption in Florida, a home's air-conditioning load represents the biggest energy challenge. The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) designed a project to answer this challenge. Two homes were built with the same floor plan on near-by lots. The difference was that one (the ''control home'') conformed to local residential building practices, and the other (the ''Zero Energy home'') was designed with energy efficiency in mind and solar technology systems on the roof. The homes were then monitored carefully for energy use. The project's designers were looking to answer two important questions: Could a home in a climate such as central Florida's be engineered and built so efficiently that a relatively small PV system would serve the majority of its cooling needs--and even some of its daytime electrical needs? And, would that home be as comfortable and appealing as the conventional model built alongside it? The answer to both questions turned out to be a resounding yes. And the test was especially rigorous, because it was conducted in the summer of 1998--one of the hottest summers on record in Florida. This news is important for city planners, architects, builders, and homeowners not only in the Sunshine State, but elsewhere, too. The solar/energy efficiency combo worked so well in Florida that it can--and should--be tried in other parts of the country. This brochure describes the Zero Energy Homes concept using a case study.
Date: March 30, 2001
Creator: Merrigan, T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Building a 40% Energy Saving House in the Mixed-Humid Climate

Description: This report describes a home that uses 40% less energy than the energy-efficient Building America standard - a giant step in the pursuit of affordable near-zero-energy housing through the evolution of five near-zero-energy research houses. This four-bedroom, two-bath, 1232-ft2 house has a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index of 35 (a HERS rating of 0 is a zero-energy house, a conventional new house would have a HERS rating of 100), which qualifies it for federal energy efficiency and solar incentives. The house is leading to the planned construction of a similar home in Greensburg, Kansas, and 21 staff houses in the Walden Reserve, a 7000-unit "deep green" community in Cookville, Tennessee. Discussions are underway for construction of similar houses in Charleston, South Carolina, Seattle, Washington, Knoxville and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and upstate New York. This house should lead to a 40% and 50% Gate-3, Mixed-Humid-Climate Joule for the DOE Building America Program. The house is constructed with structurally-insulated-panel walls and roof, raised metal-seam roof with infrared reflective coating, airtight envelope (1.65 air changes per hour at 50 Pascal), supply mechanical ventilation, ducts inside the conditioned space, extensive moisture control package, foundation geothermal space heating and cooling system, ZEHcor wall, solar water heater, and a 2.2 kWp grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system. The detailed specifications for the envelope and the equipment used in ZEH5 compared to all the houses in this series are shown in Tables 1 and 2. Based on a validated computer simulation of ZEH5 with typical occupancy patterns and energy services for four occupants, energy for this all-electric house is predicted to cost only $0.66/day ($0.86/day counting the hookup charges). By contrast, the benchmark house would require $3.56/day, including hookup charges (these costs are based on a 2006 residential rates of $0.07/kWh and solar buyback at $0.15/kWh). The solar ...
Date: October 2011
Creator: Christian, Jeffrey E. & Bonar, Jacob
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cold-Climate Case Study for Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Preprint

Description: This project, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Program, is a case study in reaching zero energy within the affordable housing sector in cold climates. The design of the 1200 square foot, 3-bedroom Denver zero energy home carefully combines envelope efficiency, efficient equipment, appliances and lighting, and passive and active solar features to reach the zero energy goal. The home was designed using an early version of the BEOpt building optimization software with additional analysis using DOE2. This engineering approach was tempered by regular discussions with Habitat construction staff and volunteers. These discussions weighed the applicability of the optimized solutions to the special needs and economics of a Habitat house--moving the design towards simple, easily maintained mechanical systems and volunteer-friendly construction techniques.
Date: July 1, 2006
Creator: Norton, P. & Christensen, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewable Energy Community: Key Elements

Description: Designing new communities using a renewable energy systems approach--with sustainable planning, zero-energy homes, advanced vehicles, and innovative utility interconnections--can reduce energy use.
Date: January 1, 2008
Creator: Carlisle, N.; Elling, J. & Penney, T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Analysis of Residential System Strategies Targeting Least-Cost Solutions Leading to Net Zero Energy Homes: Preprint

Description: The U. S. Department of Energy's Building America residential systems research project uses an analysis-based system research approach to identify research priorities, identify technology gaps and opportunities, establish a consistent basis to track research progress, and identify system solutions that are most likely to succeed as the initial targets for residential system research projects. This report describes the analysis approach used by the program to determine the most cost-effective pathways to achieve whole-house energy-savings goals. This report also provides an overview of design/technology strategies leading to net zero energy buildings as the basis for analysis of future residential system performance.
Date: April 1, 2006
Creator: Anderson, R.; Christensen, C. & Horowitz, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Large-Production Home Builder Experience with Zero Energy Homes: Preprint

Description: Since 2001, a large production builder in San Diego, California, SheaHomes, has developed and sold 306 homes in two communities with zero energy homes features. These are highly energy-efficient homes with solar water heating and solar electric systems. This paper describes the builder's experience in deciding on, building, and marketing zero energy homes. Also described are the distribution of energy features among the homes sold, whether the solar electric systems were purchased as optional or standard equipment, and system sizes.
Date: July 1, 2004
Creator: Farhar, B. C.; Coburn, T. C. & Murphy, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Comparative Analysis of Homebuyer Response to New Zero-Energy Homes: Preprint

Description: In 2004, mail questionnaires were sent to 271 homebuyers in a highly energy-efficient community and 98 homebuyers living in an adjacent conventional community. People surveyed had to have lived in their homes for at least 6 months. The questionnaires addressed perceptions and preferences relative to the new home purchases, and the role, if any, that energy efficiency and solar features might have played in these purchases. Also investigated was the willingness to pay for energy features; preferences on whether energy features should be standard or optional; preferences on energy policies; perceived problems; aesthetics; homebuyer satisfaction and the reasons for it; environmentalism; and experience with the utility company.
Date: July 1, 2004
Creator: Farhar, B. C.; Coburn, T. C. & Murphy, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department