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

Abstract

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

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, Cocoa, FL (United States)
Publication Date:
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). Building America Program
OSTI Identifier:
1318951
Report Number(s):
DOE/GO-102016-4816; NREL/SR-5500-65355
7463
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; KNDJ-0-40339-05
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; Residential Buildings; BA-PIRC; Building America; slab heat transfer; ground coupling; floor covering; space conditioning; ground temperatures

Citation Formats

Parker, D., Kono, J., Vieira, R., and Gu, L.. Evaluation of the Impact of Slab Foundation Heat Transfer on Heating and Cooling in Florida. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1318951.
Parker, D., Kono, J., Vieira, R., & Gu, L.. Evaluation of the Impact of Slab Foundation Heat Transfer on Heating and Cooling in Florida. United States. doi:10.2172/1318951.
Parker, D., Kono, J., Vieira, R., and Gu, L.. 2016. "Evaluation of the Impact of Slab Foundation Heat Transfer on Heating and Cooling in Florida". United States. doi:10.2172/1318951. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1318951.
@article{osti_1318951,
title = {Evaluation of the Impact of Slab Foundation Heat Transfer on Heating and Cooling in Florida},
author = {Parker, D. and Kono, J. and Vieira, R. and Gu, L.},
abstractNote = {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 construction 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.},
doi = {10.2172/1318951},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • 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 floorsmore » 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 construction 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
  • Heat transfer to slab foundations has remained an area of building science with poor understanding over the last three decades of energy efficiency research. This is somewhat surprising since the area of floors in single family homes is generally equal to wall, or windows or attics which have been extensively evaluated. Research that has been done has focused in the impact of slab on grade foundations and insulation schemes on heat losses associated with heating in predominantly heating dominated climates. Slab on grade construction is very popular in cooling-dominated southern states where it accounts for 77 percent of new homemore » floors according to U.S. Census data in 2014. There is a widespread conception that tile flooring, as opposed to carpet, makes for a cooler home interior in warm climates. Empirical research is needed as building energy simulations such as DOE-2 and EnergyPlus rely on simplified models to evaluate these influences. BA-PIRC performed experiments over an entire year from 2014-2015 in FSEC's Flexible Residential Test Facilities (FRTF) intended to assess for the first time 1) slab on grade influence in a cooling dominated climate, and 2) how the difference in a carpeted vs. uncarpeted building might influence heating and cooling. Two identical side by side residential buildings were evaluated, the East with pad and carpet and the west with a bare slab floor. A highly detailed grid of temperature measurements were taken on the slab surface at various locations as well as at depths of 1, 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 feet.« less
  • Heat transfer to slab foundations has remained an area of building science with poor understanding over the last three decades of energy efficiency research. This is somewhat surprising since the area of floors in single family homes is generally equal to wall, or windows or attics which have been extensively evaluated. Research that has been done has focused in the impact of slab on grade foundations and insulation schemes on heat losses associated with heating in predominantly heating dominated climates. Slab on grade construction is very popular in cooling-dominated southern states where it accounts for 77 percent of new homemore » floors according to U.S. Census data in 2014. There is a widespread conception that tile flooring, as opposed to carpet, makes for a cooler home interior in warm climates. Empirical research is needed as building energy simulations such as DOE-2 and EnergyPlus rely on simplified models to evaluate these influences. BA-PIRC performed experiments over an entire year from 2014-2015 in FSEC's Flexible Residential Test Facilities (FRTF) intended to assess for the first time 1) slab on grade influence in a cooling dominated climate, and 2) how the difference in a carpeted vs. uncarpeted building might influence heating and cooling. Two identical side by side residential buildings were evaluated, the East with pad and carpet and the west with a bare slab floor. A highly detailed grid of temperature measurements were taken on the slab surface at various locations as well as at depths of 1, 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 feet.« less
  • The study was undertaken as part of a round-robin evaluation of a proposed American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) testing methodology entitled, 'Standard Guide for Laboratory Screening of Metallic Containment Materials for Use with Liquids in Solar Heating and Cooling Systems.' This study was undertaken solely to evaluate the procedural aspects of each test method and the results of this study are not intended to provide an assessment of the suitability of any of the metals evaluated for use in solar heating and cooling systems. It was determined that the tests described in this Standard Practice can be carriedmore » out as a basis for evaluating metal-heat transfer liquid pair interactions under conditions simulative of various modes of solar containment system operation.« less