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    Life-Cycle Cost Economic Optimization of Insulation, Infiltration, and Solar Aperture in Energy-Efficient Houses


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    A total life-cycle cost economic optimization technique has been applied to the design of energy efficient residential structures in Madison, Wis., and Albuquerque, N.M., and building designs having a least life-cycle cost to build and heat have been determined. Economically optimum combinations of insulation values and south-facing glass areas were found for several design options at each location: high and low air infiltration rates, windows with and without night insulation, and single-day and three-day average insolation values. Above-grade wall and ceiling insulation values were found to be RSI-6.2 (R-35) and 10.6 (60) and RSI-3.5 (R-20) and 6.2 (35) for Madison and Albuquerque, respectively. Below-grade insulation values were RSI-3.5 (R-20) and RSI-1.4 (R-8) for the walls and floor of a full basement in Madison, and RSI-2.1 (R-12) for a slab on grade in Albuquerque. For nonsouth windows triple glazing was optimum for Madison and double glazing was optimum for Albuquerque. These insulation and glazing values were found to be nearly constant for those options of practical interest. For both locations, the optimum south glazing areas were found to be approximately 12 percent and 18 percent of the floor area for the low and high infiltration cases, respectively. Relationships used for the economic optimization of above and below grade insulation values are presented. A useful simplification resulting from the introduction of a weather-exposure factor for each optimally insulated surface is that the annual thermal load for all surfaces above or below grade may be calculated using the same average annual air temperature.


    economic analysis, thermal insulation, conservation, solar heating, solar energy, life-cycle cost, economic analysis, residential buildings, thermal insulation, air infiltration, windows, heat gain, solar space heating, energy analysis, energy conservation

    Author Information:

    Robinson, DA
    Principal Development Engineer, Technology Strategy Center, Honeywell Control Systems, St. Paul, Minn.

    Committee/Subcommittee: C16.16

    DOI: 10.1520/STP29444S