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The net zero-energy home: precedent and catalyst for local performance-based architecture

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The building sector is responsible for consuming the largest proportional share of global material and energy resources. Some observers assert that buildings are the problem and the solution to climate

The building sector is responsible for consuming the largest proportional share of global material and energy resources. Some observers assert that buildings are the problem and the solution to climate change. It appears that in the United States a coherent national energy policy to encourage rapid building performance improvements is not imminent. In this environment, where many climate and ecological scientists believe we are running out of time to reverse the effects of anthropogenic climate change, a local grass-roots effort to create demonstration net zero-energy buildings (ZEB) appears necessary. This paper documents the process of designing a ZEB in a community with no existing documented ZEB precedent. The project will establish a framework for collecting design, performance, and financial data for use by architects, building scientists, and the community at large. This type of information may prove critical in order to foster a near-term local demand for net zero-energy buildings.

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  • 2014

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Analysis of the impact of urban heat island on energy consumption of buildings in Phoenix

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The Urban Heat Island (UHI) has been known to have been around from as long as people have been urbanizing. The growth and conglomeration of cities in the past century

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) has been known to have been around from as long as people have been urbanizing. The growth and conglomeration of cities in the past century has caused an increase in the intensity and impact of Urban Heat Island, causing significant changes to the micro-climate and causing imbalances in the temperature patterns of cities. The urban heat island (UHI) is a well established phenomenon and it has been attributed to the reduced heating loads and increased cooling loads, impacting the total energy consumption of affected buildings in all climatic regions. This thesis endeavors to understand the impact of the urban heat island on the typical buildings in the Phoenix Metropolitan region through an annual energy simulation process spanning through the years 1950 to 2005. Phoenix, as a representative city for the hot-arid cooling-dominated region, would be an interesting example to see how the reduction in heating energy consumption offsets the increased demand for cooling energy in the building. The commercial reference building models from the Department of Energy have been used to simulate commercial building stock, while for the residential stock a representative residential model prescribing to IECC 2006 standards will be used. The multiyear simulation process will bring forth the energy consumptions of various building typologies, thus highlighting differing impacts on the various building typologies. A vigorous analysis is performed to see the impact on the cooling loads annually, specifically during summer and summer nights, when the impact of the 'atmospheric canopy layer' - urban heat island (UHI) causes an increase in the summer night time minimum and night time average temperatures. This study also shows the disparity in results of annual simulations run utilizing a typical meteorological year (TMY) weather file, to that of the current recorded weather data. The under prediction due to the use of TMY would translate to higher or lower predicted energy savings in the future years, for changes made to the efficiencies of the cooling or heating systems and thermal performance of the built-forms. The change in energy usage patterns caused by higher cooling energy and lesser heating energy consumptions could influence future policies and energy conservation standards. This study could also be utilized to understand the impacts of the equipment sizing protocols currently adopted, equipment use and longevity and fuel swapping as heating cooling ratios change.

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  • 2011