Research Brief: Streamlining Residential Building Energy Models

Streamlining residential building energy models
January 20, 2015

The CSHub is streamlining life-cycle assessment (LCA) tools for residential buildings in order to make the use of those tools easier and more widespread during the design process. Part of an LCA involves estimating the energy consumption of a building during its use phase. Typically, that requires a detailed building design and time-consuming energy modeling simulation. However, the CSHub has been developing a model that can estimate the energy consumption of a building based on schematic or “underspecified” attributes. By qualitatively specifying only a few key attributes—the U-values (a measure of heat transfer) of external walls and roof or ceiling, plus air leakage—researchers found that their models could reduce the uncertainty of a building's use-phase energy consumption by an average of 50 percent. Also, identifying key attributes will help building practitioners to determine which attributes to focus on in data collection for streamlined energy consumption calculations and/or LCAs. MORE