Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Near-zero-energy buildings blessing to owners, environment

12.08.2004


An electricity meter that sometimes runs backwards is just one of the cool aspects of Department of Energy near-zero-energy homes.



While low or no electric bills are an obvious benefit, high energy efficiency homes and businesses also reduce the amount of electricity that needs to be generated, thus reducing pollution, said Jeff Christian of DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In Tennessee, air pollution is of special concern as the state ranked third behind California and Texas for smog, according to a September 2003 Environmental Protection Agency report. And in June 2003, ozone alerts were in place 25 of 30 days in the Smoky Mountains, the most heavily visited national park in the United States.


Christian, director of ORNL’s Buildings Technology Center, believes he and colleagues have at least part of the answer. "We have a roadmap for communities to transform their building industry from part of the problem to part of the solution by leading buildings from energy consumers to net energy producers," Christian said.

While DOE’s long-term goal is to develop technologies that enable net-zero-energy homes at low incremental costs, today’s focus is on leading new home owners and builders toward houses that boast high efficiency and use solar panels to generate some of their own electricity.

"The effort must be all-inclusive, so we’re not limiting our approach to space heating, cooling, water heating, lighting and major appliances," Christian said. "We’re also looking at a number of other advanced technologies and we are integrating sensors so the homeowners can monitor their energy usage and savings."

In July, workers completed a fourth Habitat for Humanity DOE Building America Near-Zero-Energy House. These houses feature airtight envelope construction, advanced structural insulated panel systems, insulated precast concrete walls, a heat pump water heater, geothermal systems, grid-connected solar photovoltaic, adaptive mechanical ventilation, cool roof and wall coatings with infrared reflective pigments and solar integrated raised metal seam roofs.

Construction of the house, located in Lenoir City, was quick and the cost was less than $100,000. The first floor, a walkout basement, was constructed in six hours with premanufactured insulated concrete panels. The top floor walls, made of structural insulated panels, were installed in five hours, and the insulated cathedral ceiling was installed in a mere three hours.

The houses also provide high indoor air quality and mold, mildew and moisture control. In fact, the advanced construction techniques make these houses six times more airtight than similar houses with 2-by-4 wood frame construction. This and mechanical ventilation, which brings outside air into the house, play a huge role in making the design effective.

While the fourth Near-Zero-Energy Habitat for Humanity House was just completed, the first house has been occupied by a family of four since November 2002. The daily cost for heating and cooling this house with an air source heat pump was 45 cents. Adding the cost of operating the water heater and all of the appliances brought the total average daily energy cost for this all-electric house to 82 cents. This number takes into account $291 for solar credits that are part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Power Generation program. In comparison, a conventional house in Lenoir City would use between $4 and $5 of electricity per day.

Already, builders and the public are taking notice, said Christian, who noted that many of the energy-saving features are cost-effective for all houses.

Plans call for a true net-zero-energy house to be built by the end of 2005.

ORNL, which is managed by UT-Battelle, employs 1,500 scientists and engineers and is DOE’s largest multipurpose science and energy lab. Funding for this effort is provided by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Building America Program and TVA.

Ron Walli | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ornl.gov

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Organic-inorganic heterostructures with programmable electronic properties
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>