Approaches to 30% Energy Savings at the Community Scale in the Hot-Humid Climate
Hot Humid Climates
The Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, formerly the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership, has worked with several community-scale builders within the hot-humid climate zone to improve performance of production-, or community-scale, housing. Tommy Williams Homes (Gainesville, Florida), LifeStyle Homes (Melbourne, Florida), and Habitat for Humanity (various locations, Florida) have all been continuous partners of the Building America Program. The activities of these partners, described in this report, achieved the Building America goal of 30% whole-house source energy savings using packages adopted at the community scale. For new homes, the reference case is the B10 Benchmark, aligned with 2009 building codes. This report describes how these goals were achieved in production-scale homes that were built cost effectively at the community scale and modeled to reduce whole-house energy use by 30% or more in the hot-humid climate region. Key aspects of this research include determining how to evolve existing energy efficiency packages to produce replicable target savings, identifying builders' technical assistance needs for implementation and working with them to create sustainable quality assurance mechanisms, and documenting commercial viability through neutral cost analysis and market acceptance. This report documents barriers that builders overcame and the approaches they implemented to accomplish Building America Program goals that have not already been described in previous reports.Although the general approach to achieving 30% savings is similar among the builders, subtle variations in the comparable specifications show that trade-offs exist, allowing optimization of the efficiency package to fit regional fuel preferences, product availability/cost, subcontractor experience, house size, and each community's intended market. All packages use standard, off-the-shelf components with proven durability and reliability. Successful, community-scale energy efficiency improvements were not only the result of specified components and packages based on energy modeling software analysis, but were coupled with elements of design, quality control, and creative marketing. The evaluation demonstrates that the overall benefits of the integrated energy efficient measures used in each of the 30% whole-house source energy savings packages are marketable and result in neutral or net positive cash flow for homeowners. The findings are primarily applicable to builders and subcontractors in the hot-humid climate looking to replicate the same success in building cost-effective, energy efficient, comfortable, and durable homes. The high performance home business model calls for sweeping yet systematic change to code minimum construction that, over time, pays dividends to both builder and homeowner.
Hot Humid Climates
Florida Solar Energy Center and Thomas-Rees, Stephanie, "Approaches to 30% Energy Savings at the Community Scale in the Hot-Humid Climate" (2013). FSEC Energy Research Center®. 214.