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Title: Evaluation of the Impact of Slab Foundation Heat Transfer on Heating and Cooling in Florida

During the last three decades of energy-efficiency research, there has been limited study of heat transfer to slab-on-grade foundations in cooling-dominated climates. Most experimental research has focused on the impact of slab-on-grade foundations and insulation schemes on heat losses in heating-dominated climates. This is surprising because the floor area in single-family homes is generally equal to wall area, window area, or attic area, all of which have been extensively evaluated for heat-transfer properties. Moreover, slab foundations are the most common foundation type in cooling-dominated climates. Slab-on-grade construction is very popular in southern states, accounting for 77% of new home floors according to 2014 U.S. Census data. There is a widespread perception that tile flooring, as opposed to carpet, provides a cooler home interior in warm climates. Empirical research is needed because building energy simulation software programs running DOE-2 and EnergyPlus engines often rely on simplified models to evaluate the influence of flooring on interior temperature, even though in some cases more detailed models exist. The U.S. Department of Energy Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction (BA-PIRC) performed experiments in the Florida Solar Energy Center’s Flexible Residential Test Facility intended to assess for the first time (1) how slab-on-grade constructionmore » influences interior cooling in a cooling-dominated climate and (2) how the difference in a carpeted versus uncarpeted building might influence heating and cooling energy use. Two nominally identical side-by-side residential buildings were evaluated during the course of 1 year, from 2014 to 2015: the east building with a pad and carpet floor and the west building with a bare slab floor. A detailed grid shows temperature measurements taken on the slab surface at various locations as well as at depths of 1.0 ft, 2 ft, 5.0 ft, 10.0 ft, and 20.0 ft below the surface. Temperature measurements were taken at both buildings for more than 3 years prior to the experiments to ensure that the ground and foundation temperatures had fully come into equilibrium.« less
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  1. Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, Cocoa, FL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
NREL/SR--5500-65355; DOE/GO--102016-4816
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, Cocoa, FL (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; BA-PIRC; Building America; slab heat transfer; ground coupling; floor covering; space conditioning; ground temperatures