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Title: Solar Living House Final Technical Report

Abstract

The Solar Living House is a high-performance solar-powered dwelling designed by a team of faculty and students from the University of Florida, in collaboration with Santa Fe College, the National University of Singapore, and Alachua Habitat for Humanity. The project was designed in accordance with the Solar Decathlon 2015, a research, design, education, and outreach program developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Solar Living House is fundamentally a house for living, centered on people and the activities of daily life while quietly introducing advanced design, construction, and engineering technologies. The 993 square-foot two-bedroom one-bath home was designed to embrace and frame an exterior courtyard space. This courtyard acts as an extension of the interior living spaces, maximizing the spatial potentials of a modest building footprint and introducing natural light into the primary living spaces of the house. Research Outcomes: The Solar Living House advances work on high-performance buildings through three principal technological innovations: wet/dry modular construction, a building automation system, and solar dehumidification systems. Wet / Dry Modular Construction: The house is designed as a series of five modules, including one that is designated as the “wet core.” The wet core consolidates the mechanical systems and bathroommore » into a single module to reduce plumbing runs, efficiency losses, and on-site construction time. The other four modules are designed to eliminate interior load bearing walls to allow for maximum flexibility in the reconfiguring of the space over time. The modules are designed to meet the structural challenges of both Florida’s hurricanes and California’s earthquakes. Building Automation System: The house is equipped with an integrated building automation system, allowing the houses environmental systems, lights, security systems, and smoke detectors to be programmed, monitored, and controlled through any mobile or computing device. These systems allow for more precise calibrations of temperature/humidity/lighting to correspond with user needs and preferences, minimizing energy losses with economical night- or day-time setbacks. Solar Dehumidification System: The most significant technological innovation in the Solar Living House is the solar thermal dehumidification system. This system generates hot water through two rooftop-mounted evacuated tube solar thermal collectors. The hot water is used to continually dry a regenerative solid desiccant material, typically white silica gel. The solid desiccant is used to adsorb moisture and humidity from the air without additional mechanical cooling. This strategy allows humidity to be modulated independently of air temperature, providing greater thermal comfort and reducing the opportunity for the growth of mold spores within the house while also reducing the overall energy consumption of the HVAC system. Economic Feasibility: The team set aggressive goals for affordability, targeting a construction cost of $138,710. An independent professional cost estimator determined the overall project costs, as designed, would be $333,799, or $336.15 per square foot of finished floor area. This is more than 2.4 times the target construction cost. By comparison, the average construction cost for a home in the United States in 2015 was $289,415, or $103.29 per square foot of finished floor area. Following work on the Solar Living House, team leaders incorporated many of its objectives into a net-zero energy home on a site in Gainesville, Florida. This site-built home avoided many of the constraints and complications of modular construction necessitated by the Solar Decathlon, allowing it to be built for a much more modest budget. This two-bedroom two bath 1,800 square foot home was constructed for $135.39 per square foot, including active photovoltaic solar systems, careful attention to continuous air barriers, increased insulation levels, and permanent site constructions. This project suggest that high-performance buildings can be realized for more modest budgets. Public Benefits: Work on the Solar Living House and Solar Decathlon 2015 offered our student team unparalleled learning opportunities. Because of the duration of the project, a number of students participated at different points in their education, from first year undergraduates all the way through to advanced graduate students. The opportunity for collaboration with students and faculty from the National University of Singapore was also extraordinary, allowing for a sharing of technical knowledge and cultural exchange. The wider public has benefited from this work as its findings have been shared through public presentations and publications. It serves as a useful stepping stone along the path towards affordable, high-performance buildings.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Contributing Org.:
University of Florida; National University of Singapore; Santa Fe College; Alachua Habitat for Humanity; Gouvis Engineering
OSTI Identifier:
1346167
Report Number(s):
DOE-FLORIDA-0006557-1
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0006557
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; 42 ENGINEERING; Architecture; Solar; Decathlon; Florida; Singapore; Education; Design; Build; House; Home; Living; Desiccant; Energy; Conservation; Net-Zero; Passive; Passivhaus; Module; Modular; Affordable; PV; Photovoltaic; Thermal; Irvine; California; Gainesville; IAMSOLAR; UF; UFL; Prefab; Prefabricated; ichler; Habitat

Citation Formats

Walters, Bradley. Solar Living House Final Technical Report. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1346167.
Walters, Bradley. Solar Living House Final Technical Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1346167.
Walters, Bradley. Thu . "Solar Living House Final Technical Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1346167. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1346167.
@article{osti_1346167,
title = {Solar Living House Final Technical Report},
author = {Walters, Bradley},
abstractNote = {The Solar Living House is a high-performance solar-powered dwelling designed by a team of faculty and students from the University of Florida, in collaboration with Santa Fe College, the National University of Singapore, and Alachua Habitat for Humanity. The project was designed in accordance with the Solar Decathlon 2015, a research, design, education, and outreach program developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Solar Living House is fundamentally a house for living, centered on people and the activities of daily life while quietly introducing advanced design, construction, and engineering technologies. The 993 square-foot two-bedroom one-bath home was designed to embrace and frame an exterior courtyard space. This courtyard acts as an extension of the interior living spaces, maximizing the spatial potentials of a modest building footprint and introducing natural light into the primary living spaces of the house. Research Outcomes: The Solar Living House advances work on high-performance buildings through three principal technological innovations: wet/dry modular construction, a building automation system, and solar dehumidification systems. Wet / Dry Modular Construction: The house is designed as a series of five modules, including one that is designated as the “wet core.” The wet core consolidates the mechanical systems and bathroom into a single module to reduce plumbing runs, efficiency losses, and on-site construction time. The other four modules are designed to eliminate interior load bearing walls to allow for maximum flexibility in the reconfiguring of the space over time. The modules are designed to meet the structural challenges of both Florida’s hurricanes and California’s earthquakes. Building Automation System: The house is equipped with an integrated building automation system, allowing the houses environmental systems, lights, security systems, and smoke detectors to be programmed, monitored, and controlled through any mobile or computing device. These systems allow for more precise calibrations of temperature/humidity/lighting to correspond with user needs and preferences, minimizing energy losses with economical night- or day-time setbacks. Solar Dehumidification System: The most significant technological innovation in the Solar Living House is the solar thermal dehumidification system. This system generates hot water through two rooftop-mounted evacuated tube solar thermal collectors. The hot water is used to continually dry a regenerative solid desiccant material, typically white silica gel. The solid desiccant is used to adsorb moisture and humidity from the air without additional mechanical cooling. This strategy allows humidity to be modulated independently of air temperature, providing greater thermal comfort and reducing the opportunity for the growth of mold spores within the house while also reducing the overall energy consumption of the HVAC system. Economic Feasibility: The team set aggressive goals for affordability, targeting a construction cost of $138,710. An independent professional cost estimator determined the overall project costs, as designed, would be $333,799, or $336.15 per square foot of finished floor area. This is more than 2.4 times the target construction cost. By comparison, the average construction cost for a home in the United States in 2015 was $289,415, or $103.29 per square foot of finished floor area. Following work on the Solar Living House, team leaders incorporated many of its objectives into a net-zero energy home on a site in Gainesville, Florida. This site-built home avoided many of the constraints and complications of modular construction necessitated by the Solar Decathlon, allowing it to be built for a much more modest budget. This two-bedroom two bath 1,800 square foot home was constructed for $135.39 per square foot, including active photovoltaic solar systems, careful attention to continuous air barriers, increased insulation levels, and permanent site constructions. This project suggest that high-performance buildings can be realized for more modest budgets. Public Benefits: Work on the Solar Living House and Solar Decathlon 2015 offered our student team unparalleled learning opportunities. Because of the duration of the project, a number of students participated at different points in their education, from first year undergraduates all the way through to advanced graduate students. The opportunity for collaboration with students and faculty from the National University of Singapore was also extraordinary, allowing for a sharing of technical knowledge and cultural exchange. The wider public has benefited from this work as its findings have been shared through public presentations and publications. It serves as a useful stepping stone along the path towards affordable, high-performance buildings.},
doi = {10.2172/1346167},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {3}
}