Electrical and Computer Engineering Publications

Life cycle considerations in energy conservation for design of low income housing

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Energy and Buildings: Efficiency, Air Quality and Conservation

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As the threat of climate destabilization becomes more acute and energy prices continue to escalate the public has become more informed and active in energy conservation. Although many energy conservation measures (ECMs) can be accomplished as retrofits that home owners can make themselves, the initial design and construction of a building plays an enormous role in its energy consumption over its life cycle. Unfortunately, low income housing is often designed primarily to minimize first costs without consideration of operating costs. This often leads to decreased energy efficiency and high utility bills for those least able to pay. Careful design, however, can improve operating costs by reducing energy consumption often without increasing first costs. This chapter presents the findings of a life cycle energy analysis for low income housing in Savannah Georgia. The housing model studied was House Plan #281120, which is a one story building of slab on grade construction. This chapter considers several ECMs including: the whole house orientation, orientation of the windows only, window placement, high performance windows, insulated window shades, high efficiency lighting, above code attic insulation and a cool roof. eQUEST, a comprehensive energy modeling software that uses the department of energy's most advanced modeling programming (DOE2) and integrates graphic data reporting and an advanced simulation engine, was used to simulate modifications to the basic building design. Significant energy and cost savings were found for many of the ECMs and recommendations are made for improving general design practices for low income housing. © 2011 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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