Evaluation of a High Performance Solar Home in Loveland, Colorado

Building America (BA) partner McStain Neighborhoods built the Discovery House in Loveland, Colorado, with an extensive package of energy-efficient features, including a high-performance envelope, efficient mechanical systems, a solar water heater integrated with the space-heating system, a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV), and ENERGY STAR™ appliances. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Building Science Consortium (BSC) conducted short-term field-testing and building energy simulations to evaluate the performance of the house. These evaluations are utilized by BA to improve future prototype designs and to identify critical research needs. The Discovery House building envelope and ducts were very tight under normal operating conditions. The HRV provided fresh air at a rate of about 75 cfm (35 l/s), consistent with the recommendations of ASHRAE Standard 62.2. The solar hot water system is expected to meet the bulk of the domestic hot water (DHW) load (>83%), but only about 12% of the space-heating load. DOE-2.2 simulations predict whole-house source energy savings of 54% compared to the BA Benchmark [1]. The largest contributors to energy savings beyond McStain’s standard practice are the solar water heater, HRV, improved air distribution, high-efficiency boiler, and compact fluorescent lighting package.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Author Paul Norton
Maintainer Paul Norton
Last Updated September 28, 2016, 01:53 (Etc/UTC)
Created August 10, 2016, 18:28 (Etc/UTC)
Construction Type New Construction
Evaluation Level Test House
Climate Cold
City Loveland
State CO
Zip Code 80538
Phase 2010 to 2015
Project Start Date 2004-01-01
Project Estimated End Date 2005-12-31
Project Actual End Date 2005-12-31
Completed House Count 1
Expected House Count 1
Energy Savings Percentage 54
Average Estimated Annual Source Energy (MMBtu) 159
Average Measured Annual Source Energy (MMBtu) 1
Average Conditioned Floor Area (sqft) 2512

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