Comprehensive energy analysis of a near zero energy home
Buildings consume nearly 40% of the entire energy used in the United States. To reduce the residential energy consumption, the Department of Energy (DOE) in partnership with Building America is evaluating various energy efficient technologies that might be integrated to produce a Zero Energy Home (ZEH). The research presented in this thesis focuses on evaluating the energy use of individual energy saving components and a near ZEH system in Salt Lake City, Utah. A state-of-the-art software tool, DesignBuilder, which employs an EnergyPlus simulation engine, was used to evaluate the performance of the prototype models. The major energy saving features in the house included photovoltaic thermal (PVT) panels; the hybrid solar panels that combine PV and solar thermal panel technology in a single entity; OASys, a new evaporative cooling unit that has a SEER 40+; structural insulated panels (SIPs); and a hydronic furnace. With real time data acquisition, the performance of the individual components and the near ZEH system was studied. PVT performs with nearly 20% greater efficiency than a conventional photovoltaic (PV) system. OASys reduces the cooling energy use by 60% in comparison with a regular vapor compression air conditioning system. Simulation results indicate 30% reduced energy use with SIPs. The hydronic furnace provides comfortable heating with 2% of the total heating energy as preheat to the water heater.