Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Matthew Deady

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In an age of increasing concerns over energy consumption and green house gas emission, improving the performance of our built environment in both regards should be a priority. Although buildings account for as much as 45% of global energy consumption, with the resulting carbon emissions substantially more than those in the transportation sector, the importance of buildings in cutting energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions has been underemphasized and that needs to change if countries are to achieve energy security and manage climate change. While the supply side of the energy equation is an important aspect of sustainable building, with growing opportunities to utilize renewable non-carbon energy sources, the focus of this paper is to scrutinize the sources of energy consumption of buildings during their operation, specifically due to heating demands, and to subsequently explore the potential of direct energy savings.

One way to cut the energy consumption of a building is to reduce the energy cost of heating. This can be achieved by reducing the contributions of the three elements implied in the heating demand of a building: its heat loss coefficient or ‘leakiness,’ the temperature difference between the indoors and the environment, and the inefficiency of the heating system. This paper compares the impact of a more efficient heating system on the energy performance of a building depending on the climate zone, which provides an insight into the significance of location-specific solutions for the most effective strategy in cutting the energy consumption of a building. As it turns out altering the temperature difference alone can reduce the energy expenditures due to heating dramatically, which becomes even more relevant for an already-built structure, where the opportunity for reducing the heat loss parameters of the building’s fabric, is limited.

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