Researching Retrofit Technology in the Northwest - Fine Homebuilding

previous
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Custom Flooring Inspiration
    Custom Flooring Inspiration
  • Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
    Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Projects Done Right
    Projects Done Right
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Design Inspiration
    Design Inspiration
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Remodeling Articles and Videos
    Remodeling Articles and Videos
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Pro Tool Rental. Learn More.
    Pro Tool Rental. Learn More.
next

Building Business

Building Business


Researching Retrofit Technology in the Northwest

comments (0) December 4th, 2011 in Blogs
FHB_Building_News Richard Defendorf, contributor

 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, along with its research partners, celebrated the launch on November 15 of a research project that will measure how retrofit technologies affect the performance of one of these two identical 1,500-sq.-ft. homes. One home will serve as a control, the other will be retrofitted in stages and its performance, relative to that of the control, documented.
 
The Tri-City Region, in southeastern Washington, is semi-arid, with 7 to 8 in. of precipitation annually. Winter temperatures can drop into the mid-20s, while summertime highs can top 100.
 
 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, along with its research partners, celebrated the launch on November 15 of a research project that will measure how retrofit technologies affect the performance of one of these two identical 1,500-sq.-ft. homes. One home will serve as a control, the other will be retrofitted in stages and its performance, relative to that of the control, documented.Click To Enlarge

 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, along with its research partners, celebrated the launch on November 15 of a research project that will measure how retrofit technologies affect the performance of one of these two identical 1,500-sq.-ft. homes. One home will serve as a control, the other will be retrofitted in stages and its performance, relative to that of the control, documented.

Photo: PNNL and U.S. climate data

In its newly inaugurated Lab Homes project, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has tried to make it easy to accurately measure the effects of energy efficiency retrofits. 

Rather than relying on modeling data based on imaginary reference homes of comparable size, Lab Homes focuses on the performance of two factory-built 1,500-sq.-ft. doublewide homes set up side by side on the PNNL campus in Richland, Washington. Both homes have been tested for airtightness, duct leakage, and, using infrared imaging, thermal performance to make sure they are as close to identical as possible. 

One of the buildings, dubbed the Baseline Home, “is typical of existing homes in the Inland Northwest” and will serve as a control, the PNNL explains on web pages devoted to the project. The other building, the Experimental Home, will be retrofitted to improve energy efficiency, lower the rate of water consumption, and improve the home’s indoor air quality. The first experiment will involve the installation of insulating (R-5) windows. The research also is expected to include evaluations of programmable appliances and car-charging stations, heat pump water heaters and energy efficient HVAC appliances, more insulation in the envelope, and installations of solar hot water and photovoltaic systems. Occupancy of both homes will be simulated.

A different set of comparisons in Tennessee

PNNL, a research arm of the Department of Energy, is not the only DOE entity studying residential energy efficiency. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, an East Tennessee builder, and an architectural firm in 2009 teamed up to form what is known as the Zero Energy Building Research Alliance, or ZERBRAlliance. 

ZEBRAlliance’s principal project is a set of four 2,800-sq.-ft. model homes, each with a different envelope subsystem. One is constructed with structural insulated panels. Another features 2x6 studs, 24 in. on center, and OSB sheathing coated with a liquid-applied water-resistive barrier (WRB), R-21 flash and batt insulation (spray foam plus fiberglass batts), a TechShield radiant barrier in the attic, and R-49 cellulose insulation on the attic floor. 

The exterior walls and attic floor of the third home feature cellulose-laced phase-change material and are covered with reflective Tyvek and a Delta-Dry dual-ventilated polyethylene membrane. The fourth home features a 4-in. exterior insulation finishing system and a trowel-applied WRB over 2x4 walls. 

ZEBRAlliance celebrated the completion of the four homes, which offered similar amenities beyond their structural enhancements, in September 2010. Data collection on that project continues.

 


posted in: Blogs, business, energy efficiency, remodeling, insulation

Comments (0)

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.