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Title: Effect of occupant behavior and air-conditioner controls on humidity in typical and high-efficiency homes

Abstract

Increasing insulation levels and improved windows are reducing sensible cooling loads in high-efficiency homes. This trend raises concerns that the resulting shift in the balance of sensible and latent cooling loads may result in higher indoor humidity, occupant discomfort, and stunted adoption of high-efficiency homes. This study utilizes established moisture-buffering and air-conditioner latent degradation models in conjunction with an approach to stochastically model internal gains. Building loads and indoor humidity levels are compared for simulations of typical new construction homes and high-efficiency homes in 10 US cities. The sensitivity of indoor humidity to changes in cooling set point, air-conditioner capacity, and blower control parameters are evaluated. The results show that high-efficiency homes in humid climates have cooling loads with a higher fraction of latent loads than the typical new construction home, resulting in higher indoor humidity. Reducing the cooling set point is the easiest method to reduce indoor humidity, but it is not energy efficient, and overcooling may lead to occupant discomfort. Eliminating the blower operation at the end of cooling cycles and reducing the cooling airflow rate also reduce indoor humidity and with a smaller impact on energy use and comfort.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Energy Efficiency Office. Building Technologies Office
OSTI Identifier:
1424450
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1423189
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5500-70268
Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7788
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy and Buildings
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 165; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7788
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; indoor humidity; low-load; moisture buffering; effective moisture penetration depth; humidity; building energy modeling; moisture

Citation Formats

Winkler, Jon, Munk, Jeffrey, and Woods, Jason. Effect of occupant behavior and air-conditioner controls on humidity in typical and high-efficiency homes. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.01.032.
Winkler, Jon, Munk, Jeffrey, & Woods, Jason. Effect of occupant behavior and air-conditioner controls on humidity in typical and high-efficiency homes. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.01.032
Winkler, Jon, Munk, Jeffrey, and Woods, Jason. Tue . "Effect of occupant behavior and air-conditioner controls on humidity in typical and high-efficiency homes". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.01.032. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1424450.
@article{osti_1424450,
title = {Effect of occupant behavior and air-conditioner controls on humidity in typical and high-efficiency homes},
author = {Winkler, Jon and Munk, Jeffrey and Woods, Jason},
abstractNote = {Increasing insulation levels and improved windows are reducing sensible cooling loads in high-efficiency homes. This trend raises concerns that the resulting shift in the balance of sensible and latent cooling loads may result in higher indoor humidity, occupant discomfort, and stunted adoption of high-efficiency homes. This study utilizes established moisture-buffering and air-conditioner latent degradation models in conjunction with an approach to stochastically model internal gains. Building loads and indoor humidity levels are compared for simulations of typical new construction homes and high-efficiency homes in 10 US cities. The sensitivity of indoor humidity to changes in cooling set point, air-conditioner capacity, and blower control parameters are evaluated. The results show that high-efficiency homes in humid climates have cooling loads with a higher fraction of latent loads than the typical new construction home, resulting in higher indoor humidity. Reducing the cooling set point is the easiest method to reduce indoor humidity, but it is not energy efficient, and overcooling may lead to occupant discomfort. Eliminating the blower operation at the end of cooling cycles and reducing the cooling airflow rate also reduce indoor humidity and with a smaller impact on energy use and comfort.},
doi = {10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.01.032},
journal = {Energy and Buildings},
number = ,
volume = 165,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

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