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Title: Building America Case Study: Optimized Slab-on-Grade Foundation Insulation Retrofits, Madison, Wisconsin

A more accurate assessment of SOG foundation insulation energy savings than traditionally possible is now feasible. This has been enabled by advances in whole building energy simulation with 3-dimensional foundation modelling integration at each time step together with an experimental measurement of the site energy savings of SOG foundation insulation. Ten SOG insulation strategies were evaluated on a test building to identify an optimum retrofit insulation strategy in a zone 6 climate (Minneapolis, MN). The optimum insulation strategy in terms of energy savings and cost effectiveness consisted of two components: (a) R-20 XPS insulation above grade, and, (b) R-20 insulation at grade (comprising an outer layer of R-10 insulation and an interior layer of R-12 poured polyurethane insulation) tapering to R-10 XPS insulation at half the below-grade wall height (the lower half of the stem wall was uninsulated). The optimum insulation strategy was applied to single and multi-family residential buildings in climate zone 4 - 7. The highest site energy savings of 5% was realized for a single family home in Duluth, MN, and the lowest savings of 1.4 percent for a 4-unit townhouse in Richmond, VA. SOG foundation insulation retrofit simple paybacks ranged from 18 to 47 years. Theremore » are other benefits of SOG foundation insulation resulting from the increase in the slab surface temperatures. These include increased occupant thermal comfort, and a decrease in slab surface condensation particularly around the slab perimeter.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
NREL/FS-5500-64738; DOE/GO-102016-4727
DOE Contract Number:
Research Org:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION residential; residential buildings; NorthernSTAR; Building America; slab-on-grade; insulation; energy; cost