Affordable Net-Zero Energy Housing - Optimization Research
Cost optimization and reduction, evaluating qualitative criteria
in design of low-energy homes
March 27, 2012 at 4 pm ET
Presented by Mark Carver, Natural Resources Canada, CanmetENERGY
Recent Canadian demonstration projects by leading-edge builders have proven that Net-Zero Energy (NZE) homes are technically feasible in our cold climate. But current building approaches are complex, custom, and expensive, often adding $90-120K to the cost of a home. To make NZE homes more accessible to Canadians, CanmetENERGY has undertaken the Affordable Net Zero Energy Homes Project to explore ways to reduce the cost.
We began with a review of best-practices to date in Net-Zero and low energy home design in North America. A 2-step optimization process was developed and applied to the design of a 225m2 (2400 ft2) single detached archetype house. The first, "coarse" step considers qualitative assessment criteria (simplicity, durability, occupant impact, industry familiarity, and uncertainty) to screen-out high risk technologies. The second, "fine" step using optimization software to run thousands of simulations of various combinations of technologies, wall assemblies, airtightness targets, glazing fractions, roof pitches, etc to find cost-optimal pathways for achieving net-zero performance.
This project is nearing completion and early results interestingly point to several design solutions in the $80k incremental cost range. These have been categorized according to different philosophies, for example designs that emphasize simplicity and durability, or others that seek low-profile wall assemblies for tight lots.
In this webinar Alex and Mark will present their project methodology and findings and how these may be used to explore tradeoffs between common strategies when building low-energy housing.
Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY is the Canadian leader in clean energy research and technology development. CanmetENERGY’s Housing Team researchers are working to make NZE homes widely possible by developing new market viable technologies and processes. We’re providing our industry with the necessary tools, (such as our modeling software that is downloadable at no charge) to simulate how new energy efficient products and renewable energy sources can be integrated into designs and building practices. We work with our homebuilding, renovating and HVAC industry to plan and build more energy efficient housing, and upgrade codes and standards. We work with manufacturers to assist them in making deeper reductions in home energy use feasible on a consistent basis through their offering of engineered packaged systems to improve efficiency. For more information, visit us online: http://canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/buildings-communities/housing/685