Solar house energy analysis shows 71 percent energy savings

Dec 24, 2013

(Phys.org) —The energy efficiencies of a solar house could result in significant energy savings, according to research by an undergraduate engineering student at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Samantha Wermager, a senior in from Hokah, Minn., co-authored "Energy Analysis of a Student-Designed Solar House" with her advisor, Dr. Stuart Baur, associate professor of civil, architectural and at Missouri S&T. The research was published Dec. 4 in the journal Energies.

The article presents findings from research she began through Missouri S&T's Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences program. Wermager compared the efficiency, consumption and generation of a solar house to a traditional home of similar size and layout, built using traditional construction methods. The solar house she used was modeled after Missouri S&T's entry into the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Wermager analyzed the 's design efficiency using Energy-10 software, which provides feedback on energy performance and helps identify optimum approaches to energy efficiency. For this comparison, she created a fictional American couple and estimated their energy-use habits, which she entered into the program.

Energy-10 projected a 71 percent energy savings by adding energy conserving strategies like energy efficient appliances, lights and HVAC system; low emissivity windows; insulation; proper HVAC controls; duct leakage; and a solar domestic hot water heater. Wermager found that when photovoltaic (PV) arrays (linked solar panels) were also installed, the energy generated could surpass the energy consumed.

"Often 'going green' is seen as an expensive, cumbersome process," says Wermager. "Yet, this research clearly shows that embracing green technologies such as a solar PV system can be not only beneficial for the environment, but also financially advantageous to the homeowner."

Wermager says that the Energy-10 results, along with a solar-estimator calculator available from Solar-Estimate.org that helps determine the financial feasibility of installing renewable energy systems, will help homeowners and designers to see beyond the high initial costs.

Explore further: New research could lead to less expensive solar panels

More information: Wermager, S.; Baur, S. Energy Analysis of a Student-Designed Solar House. Energies 2013, 6, 6373-6390. DOI: 10.3390/en6126373

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

European grid prepares for massive integration of renewables

5 hours ago

Today, the ancient city of Rome welcomed an important new initiative for the large-scale integration of grids and of renewables sources into Europe's energy mix, with nearly 40 leading organisations from research, industry, ...

Preparing for a zero-emission urban bus system

Oct 30, 2014

In order to create a competitive and sustainable transport system, the EU must look to alternative fuels to replace or complement petrol and diesel. Not only will this reduce transport emissions but it will ...

Exploring the value of 'Energy Star' homes

Oct 30, 2014

The numbers in neat columns tell—column by column, page by page—a story spread out across Carmen Carrión-Flores' desk at Binghamton University. It's a great story, she says; she just doesn't know how ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.