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Development of a new methodology for evaluating the thermal performance of residential buildings

Keke Zheng, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


According to the official energy statistics from Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA), residential sector currently accounts for 22% of energy consumption and 37% of electricity consumption in United States. There are more than one hundred million residential houses which represent an extremely large source of potential energy savings. For residential houses, the envelope components are only rated as standard-satisfied during the design phase, regardless of the performance during the whole life cycle. And the thermal energy system is usually a unitary air system with low initial cost and simple control, usually one thermostat, which results in the poor maintenance since no specific diagnostic sensors were installed. The maintenance is required only when the system capacity is degraded and no longer satisfied, which already results in large amount of energy wasting. Existing evaluation methods have three major limitations. Firstly, they are mainly for new building and not suitable for the existing building. Secondly, they are focused on the design phase instead of the construction phase with possible installation deviation, and operation phase with more than 75% energy consumption, and unable to evaluate the performance deviation occurred during the whole life-cycle. Thirdly, advanced specific knowledge is required which is relatively complicated for average residents. This study developed an overall methodology for the thermal performance evaluation of typical new and existing residential houses: 1) provide a simple but convenient method to quantify the whole building thermal performance which can continuously monitor thermal performance during the whole life-cycle period; 2) validate the proposed method through field data and as-built simulation; 3) present a building thermal performance rating procedure; 4) develop non-invasive measurement methods for the envelope and thermal energy system performance; 5) propose an sizing optimization method for hybrid thermal energy systems.

Subject Area

Architectural|Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Zheng, Keke, "Development of a new methodology for evaluating the thermal performance of residential buildings" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3553283.